A 'Know Nothing' American Flag

dated, "1858"

Appliqued, printed cotton portrait medallion depicting George Washington below a spreadwing eagle and crossed American Flags heightened with 13 embroidered stars, 17 red cotton stripes hand-sewn to white cotton field, fold-over hoist with four hand-stitched grommets, embroidered with the initials, "JWL" and date, "Dec 1858," mounted and framed.

19 in. x 23 1/4 in. (sight)


The Collection of Boleslaw and Marie-Louise d'Otrange Mastai.

Estimate $25,000-50,000

Literature: Kevin Keim & Peter Keim, A Grand Old Flag: A History of the United States Through its Flags (2007), 100.

Nancy Druckman and Jeffrey Kenneth Kohn, American Flags: Designs for A Young Nation (2003), 33.

Boleslaw and Marie-Louise d'Otrange Mastai, The Stars and the Stripes: The American Flag as Art and as History from the Birth of the Republic to the Present (1973), 26 & 27 and illustrated on dust jacket.

Note: The natavist American Party or 'Know Nothings' flourished in the United States in the 1850s. The party was founded in 1849, growing out of a reactionary, secret fraternal organization- the Order of the Star Spangled Banner. Its members were directed to respond that they knew nothing when questioned about their organization. The party was anti-immigration and anti-Roman Catholic and popular enough to claim 43 seats in the Congress of 1855. The Know-Nothings honored George Washington above all else, as demonstrated in the present lot where the canton and stars are replaced with a portrait of the first President.

Descriptions provided in both printed and on-line catalogue formats do not include condition reports. The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Freeman's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Freeman's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Freeman's. For that reason, Freeman's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. All transactions are governed by Freeman's Conditions of Sale.

Sold for $25,000 (buyer's premium included)