Antique Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama Flag | One of the Finest Advertising Flags Ever Produced | Circa 1884-1892

Antique Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama Flag
2. Battle of Gettysburg Antique Flag 1884-1892.jpg
3. Gettysburg Cyclorama.jpg
4. Original Cyclorama Building in Gettysburg.jpg
5. Philippoteaux Painting Gettysburg Cyclorama.jpg
Antique Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama Flag
2. Battle of Gettysburg Antique Flag 1884-1892.jpg
3. Gettysburg Cyclorama.jpg
4. Original Cyclorama Building in Gettysburg.jpg
5. Philippoteaux Painting Gettysburg Cyclorama.jpg

Antique Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama Flag | One of the Finest Advertising Flags Ever Produced | Circa 1884-1892

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Frame Size (H x L): 15” x 17”
Flag Size (H x L): 5” x 7”

Offered is an advertising flag, dating to between 1884 and 1892.  It is among the best advertising flags ever produced.  It is made of paper, and includes the following overprint:

BOSTON
CYLORAMA CO.
541 Tremont Street.
“Battle
OF
Gettysburg”

AMERICA’S GREATEST BATTLE

You step at once into the center of the battle as it took place.  Expect to see the grandest sight of this age. You will come again and again. This enterprise cost the Company THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS, and will be visited by nearly every person in New England.  Take Street Cars marked GETTYSBURG.  Don’t go through Boston without seeing this wonderful effect.   

In the late 1800s, cycloramas were a popular form of entertainment in America and in Europe.  A cyclorama is a massive painting that is displayed in a circular auditorium, and then enhanced with landscaped foregrounds, typically with trees, grasses, fences, artifacts, and mannequins.  Most cycloramas featured a battle, a religious epic, or a scene from a famous work of literature.   

The Gettysburg Cyclorama was painted by French artist Paul Philippoteaux.  It depicts Pickett’s Charge, which was the climatic Confederate attack on the Union during the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3rd, 1863.  It includes representations of Cemetery Ridge, the Angle, and the high-water mark of the Confederacy.  The result was highly realistic and placed the viewer in the middle of the scene, bringing many visiting soldiers to tears. 

There were a total of four Gettysburg Cycloramas.  This first was originally exhibited in Chicago in 1883, and is now owned by a group of North Carolina investors.  The second was originally exhibited in Boston in 1884 (as advertised by this flag), and now on display at the Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center.  It is a massive 42 feet tall and 377 feet in circumference.  The third was originally exhibited in Philadelphia, but has since been destroyed.  And the fourth was originally exhibited in Brooklyn.  Its whereabouts are unknown.

Another unique feature of this flag is its unusual canton.  Specifically, the canton is completely absent of stars, and instead includes the verbiage “BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG,” the verbiage “531 TO 541 TREMONT STREET,” and a graphical representation of the circular cyclorama building.  This is among the most unusual cantons that we have ever encountered, even for a printed advertising flag. 

Yet another unique feature of this flag is its unusual number of stripes.  The First Flag Act of 1777 stated that the flag should have thirteen stripes.  Despite this, we sometimes encounter antique flags that have eleven, twelve, or fourteen stripes, to name just a few examples.  This flag, however, displays a dramatic pattern of twenty-five narrow stripes, adding significantly to is folksiness and visual appeal. 

Conservation Process: The flag is sandwiched between cotton fabric and a UV resistant acrylic.  The cotton was hand sewn to a mounting board.  To prevent the black dye in the cotton from seeping into the flag, it was first washed in a standard wash and then in a dye setting wash.  The spectacular antique frame includes three separate layers, including a gilt inner layer.  It is among the very best of antique frames and dates to between 1860 and 1890.   

Condition Report: This flag exhibits some very minor creasing, but is otherwise in excellent condition.

Collectability Level: The Best – Perfect for Advanced Collectors   
Date of Origin: 1884-189

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