GI-43 Washington / Taylor Portrait Flask

Provenance: Anonymous

The Marquis de Chastellux, who visited General George Washinton in camp, stated that “he was astonished and delighted to see the great American living among his officers and men as a father among his children, who at once revered and loved him with a filial tenderness.” Jacques Pierre Brissot, another famous French traveler, noted that “throughout the continent, everybody spoke of Washington as of a father.” The dearest and best of all appellations, “The father of his country,” was the neutral fruit of that benevolence which he so carefully cultivated through life.

See our museum example of a quart GI-39 Washington “Father of His Country” – Taylor “General Taylor Never Surrenders” portrait flask.

Zachary Taylor became a national hero almost overnight. Early in the Mexican War, a Philadelphia paper published a résumé of his career. The public was asking who he was? When the news of his Buena Vista victory swept the country, an unabating clamor for “Taylor for President” resulted. In February 1848, at a Buena Vista Festival held in Philadelphia to celebrate the anniversary of Washington’s birthday and Taylor’s victory, this toast was offered: “Washington and Taylor – men of the same mold – each one sufficient to mark a century. Hail Columbia.” Taylor had a distinguished military career before being elected president. He fought in the War of 1812, the Black Hawk War, the Second Seminole War (where he earned the nickname “Old Rough and Ready”), and became a national hero during the Mexican-American War. He took office on March 4, 1849, but died suddenly on July 9, 1850, and was succeeded by Vice President Millard Fillmore.

Such historical events and sentiments account for the twenty or so varieties of Washington-Taylor flasks made or influenced by the Dyottville Glass Works, usually having “The Father of His Country” above the classical bust of Washington and various inscriptions above that of Taylor.

What sets our museum example of a quart GI-43 Washington – Taylor portrait flask from others is the beautiful blue-gray glass color and the dark blue striations. On the obverse we see George Washington facing left in a classical profile. Washington has a braid of hair or queue, worn hanging at the back of the head. He is wearing a broad band of toga. Embossed copy reading ‘THE FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY’ surrounds Washington’s profile in a horseshoe configuration. Both the bust and inscription are framed in an oval.

The reverse of the flask depicts General Zachary Taylor in military uniform with an ornamental shoulder piece or epaulet on the coat or jacket. The Taylor profile is facing left surrounded in a horseshoe configuration with the embossed copy reading, ‘I HAVE ENDEAVOUR,D TO DO MY DUTY.’ Both the bust of Taylor and the copy are framed in an oval.

The flask sides are smooth. The glassworks was probably Dyottville Glass Works, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. You can find this flask in many colors including aqua which is fairly common; emerald green, dark green, citron, golden yellow, golden amber, amber, green amber, olive-yellow, and yellow-olive, and green which are rare. Blue with a gray tone, medium blue, and sapphire blue are very rare and cobalt blue is extremely rare. There is a second flask reported like our museum example. GI-43 flasks can be found with a variety of lips and bases.

Read: Washington – Taylor (Portrait Only) Historical Flasks

Support: Reference to American Bottles and Flasks and Their Ancestry by Helen McKearin and Kenneth M. Wilson, Crown Publishers Inc., New York, 1978.

Support: Reference to Historical Flasks, American Primitive Portraits in Glass by Helen McKearin, American Collector magazine, October 1942

Support Images: Lot 14: Washington – Taylor Portrait Flask, Dyottville Glass Works, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1840-1860. Medium to deep yellowish olive, sheared mouth – tubular pontil scar, quart; (exterior high point wear particularly on the bust of Taylor). GI-43 Beautiful color, strong embossing, fine general condition. Warren “Bud” Lane collection. – Norman C. Heckler & Company

Support Images: Lot 136: Washington – Taylor Portrait Flask, Dyottville Glass Works, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1840-1860. Brilliant light yellow, sheared mouth – pontil scar, pint; (professionally cleaned to original luster). GI-44 Extremely rare color, with this example being particularly light to the point of having it appear almost clear in some portions of the center portion of the bottle, particularly strong embossing. Recently dug in Savannah, Georgia. One of the digging team writes “Our flask was recovered from a privy in the Historic District in downtown Savannah. The privy dated to about 1820 and was in use until around 1900. The bottle was recovered from a “cleanout” pit about 8 feet deep adjacent to the privy. The privy was cleaned out and rebuilt after 1865.” – Norman C. Heckler & Company

Support Images: Lot 90: Washington – Taylor Portrait Flask, Dyottville Glass Works, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1840-1860. Bright yellow-green, sheared mouth – pontil scar, quart; (light exterior high point wear). GI-43 Strong mold impression. Attractive color. Fine condition. This flask was given by George S. McKearin to his grandson, John MacMurtie, Jr. Ex George S. McKearin collection. – Norman C. Heckler & Company

Support Image: Whiskey Flask with portraits of Washington & Taylor, Dyottville Glass Works, Aquamarine glass; mold-blown; plain lip, pontil mark. Obverse: Washington, classical profile bust with queue, facing left, broad band of toga showing. Similar to GI-37. Reverse: Taylor profile bust in uniform, four buttons on coat, facing left. Similar to GI-37. Inscription: above Washington “THE FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY”; reverse in semi-circle above Taylor “I HAVE ENDEAVOUR,D TO DO MY DUTY”. Edges: smooth. – Corning Museum of Glass

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