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Our Heaven Born Banner: 1861

Our Heaven Born Banner: 1861

1861. "A pro-Union patriotic print based on Frederic Edwin Church's oil painting 'Our Banner in the Sky,' which in turn was inspired by the highly publicized Confederate insult to the flag at Fort Sumter in April 1861 and by a sermon by Henry Ward Beecher published shortly thereafter. The print shows a lone Zouave sentry watching from a promontory as the dawn breaks, his rifle and bayonet forming the staff of an American flag formed by the sky's light. In the distance is a fort, probably Sumter." Lithograph by Sarony, Major & Knapp. View full size.


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It's lovely to see an image from 1861 using color so vividly. Usually when we think of Civil War era imagery, it's black and white, whether daguerreotypes or grim photos of the battlefield. At first glance I thought this might have been 20th century illustration, something from Collier's or the Saturday Evening Post. Of course color illustration existed in 1861; this just reminds me of what a long tradition early 20th century magazine illustration had.

Love how the stars are in the distant sky, we see them through the stripes.

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