(Lyons and San Francisco: Wullschleger & Co., Inc. and Taylor and Taylor, 1928 and 1918).
RARE FIRST ISSUE OF THE FIRST RENDERING INTO SILK, OF THE ICONIC PAINTING BY JOHN TRUMBULL OF THE SIGNING OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE OFFERED WITH A FINE PRINTING OF THE DECLARATION DONE BY TAYLOR & TAYLOR IN 1918. ‘This painting, since it’s presentation to the public within the rotunda of the US Capitol, has served as the most popular depiction of that great event in American history. The painting has appeared over the years in numerous printed renditions and was used as an engraving on the U.S. two-dollar bill.
The silk rendering is a masterpiece of platinum and black metallic silks from the looms of Wullschleger in Lyons, and was designed by A. Travard and woven by Mr. Emile Godard. Copies are housed in a number of collections around the world.
Wullschleger was a Swiss emigrant resident of New York and a textile industry entrepreneur. He maintained offices in both New York City and in Lyons, France. He commissioned the creation of this superb Jacquard woven rendition of the original Trumbull painting to honour the firms years in business. And it would require the construction of a special building furnished with six Verol Jacquard pattern shedding mechanisms and a continuous three year work effort before completing the project in 1928. It is said, that at the time, patterns of the ‘Declaration’ would be produced as presentation gifts for friends and colleagues in the silk industry and to each American embassy around the world. An example is held by the Smithsonian Institution along with the actual loom that it was woven on.’ Surviving examples are presumed to be held in private or institutional collections, and the work is very rare in open marketplace.
Concerning the copy in the Smithsonian Institution, note the following from: The United States National Museum Annual Report for the Year Ended June 30, 1956: “Significant specimen donated by Arthur E. Wullschleger is a
woven-silk reproduction of Trumbull's famous painting "The Signing
of the Declaration of Independence," made under Mr. Wullschleger's
personal direction by a number of the most skilled weavers in the
French silk industry in Lyons. The gift comprises the framed silk
Jacquard picture, an excellent example of this type of weaving, and
trial samples which preceded the completed picture. “
“Lyons had long been a center for production of silk. In 1466 King Louis XI decided to develop a national silk industry in Lyon. In the face of protests by the Lyonnais, he conceded and moved the silk fabrication to Tours, but the industry in Tours stayed relatively marginal. His main objective was to reduce France's trade deficit with Italy, which caused France to lose 400,000 to 500,000 golden écus a year. It was under Francis I in around 1535 that a royal charter was granted to two merchants, Étienne Turquet and Barthélemy Naris, to develop a silk trade in Lyon. In 1540 the king granted a monopoly on silk production to the city of Lyon. Starting in the 16th century Lyon became the capital of the European silk trade, notably producing many reputable fashions. Gaining confidence, the silks produced in the city little by little began to abandon the original oriental styles and moved towards their own distinctive style, with an emphasis on landscapes. Thousand of workers, the canuts, devoted themselves to the flourishing industry. In the middle of the 17th century over 14,000 looms were in use in Lyon, and the silk industry fed a third of the city's population.
Joseph-Marie Jacquard improved on the designs of Falcon and Vaucanson, introducing the revolutionary Jacquard loom, which allowed a string of punched cards to be processed mechanically in the correct sequence. The punched cards of the Jacquard loom were a direct precursor to the modern computer, in that they gave a (limited) form of programmability. Punched cards themselves were carried over to computers, and were ubiquitous until their obsolescence in the 1970s.
The loom was declared public property in 1806, and Jacquard was rewarded with a pension and a royalty on each machine.
The Taylor and Taylor printing of THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE has long been considered one of the most beautiful modern presentations and is beautifully formatted in an especially large elephant folio printing. Item #23101
The printing of the Declaration here offered with the silk rendering of the Trumbull painting of the signing, was printed by Taylor & Taylor in San Francisco in 1918. First issue of this rare woven silk rendering of John Trumbull’s famous painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. A small number were issued and it is said that most were sent to U.S. Embassies around the world. A copy, framed and glazed, with trial samples was given to the Smithsonian Institution by Mr. Wullschleger and is noted in their report of 1956 (see below). First issue of the Taylor & Taylor printing of the Declaration of Independence. The silk rendering of the painting is 31 inches x 22 inches; the reproduced Declaration of Independence is 22 inches by 16.5 inches and is handsomely matted, the silk is handsomely presented within an antique wooden frame, glazed. The frame similar to the frame described by the Smithsonian Institution in 1956 when Arthur E. Wullschleger gifted his specimen of the weaving (and the loom it was produced on) to the Institution. A very fine copy of each item, beautifully preserved and very rare thus.