GI-73 “General Taylor” – Monument Portrait Flask

Provenance: Sandor P. Fuss Collection

Our pint is referred to as a GI-73 “Genl Taylor” And Bust – “Fells Point Balto” and Monument portrait flask. It depicts a male military bust with embossed copy reading, Genl Taylor. Zachary Taylor was a general and national hero in the United States Army from the time of the Mexican-American War and the War of 1812. He was elected the 12th U.S. President, serving from March 1849 until his death in July 1850.

The reverse side of this flask is interesting as it is missing the embossed George Washington statue on top of Baltimore’s Washington Monument. This helps date the mold pre-1829 as there was a period when this 16-foot marble statue, carved by the Italian sculptor Henrico Cancici, was lifted with its pedestal into its present position with great ceremony on November 19, 1829, 14 years after the base cornerstone was laid which was widely publicized throughout newspapers in the United States.

In 1815, the cornerstone of the monument was placed on July 4th. Behind the cornerstone, in a concealed vault, was a copper plate, and a sealed glass bottle with a likeness of George Washington, his valedictory address, several newspaper editions from Baltimore, and different coins of the United States.

A problem arises with the so-called ‘young’ portrait of General Zachary Taylor. McKearin & Wilson note that the military gentleman may have not originally represented Zachary Taylor and that after the Mexican War, the General Taylor copy was cut into the mold after Taylor became a hero. This puts the flask production after February 1847 and after the battle of Buena Vista. For this to happen, the mold may have been first made by the short-lived Baltimore Flint Glass Works located in Fells Point, a prominent shipping area of Baltimore. There are other clues too such as the mold form, lines, and proportions, which are typical of those flasks designed in the late 1820s and early 1830s, and not around 1840 or later. Afterward, the mold may have been purchased by the Baltimore Glass Works who ultimately made the flasks in the late 1840s.

When looking at the obverse of the flask there is an embossed side bust of a younger military man in uniform facing left. ‘GENL TAYLOR.’ is embossed in a semicircle above the head. The ‘L’ of General is smaller and raised. There is a period after Taylor. Taylor’s hair is short and there is an epaulet on his shoulder.

The reverse of the flask has an embossed representation of Baltimore’s Washington Monument without the statue. The embossed copy reads, ‘FELLS POINT’ in a semicircle above the monument. ‘BALTO’ is embossed in a straight horizontal line beneath the monument. The ‘O’ of Balto is smaller and raised.

The pink-puce pint has a plain lip and a pontil mark. The edges are vertically ribbed (3) with a heavy medial rib.

The flask is not too difficult to obtain in more common glass colors such as aquamarine which is comparatively scarce; pale green is noted as scarce; grass green, brilliant green, pale yellow-green, dark yellow-green, and pale greenish-yellow are rare; and olive-yellow, pale amethyst, amethyst, deep amethyst, puce, dark wine, and sapphire are very rare.

Primary Image: GI-73 “Genl Taylor” And Bust – “Fells Point Balto” and Monument portrait flask imaged on location by the FOHBC Virtual Museum midwest studio led by Alan DeMaison.

Support: Reference to Looking at earlier Baltimore ‘Washington Monument’ Historical Flasks

Support Images: Auction Lot 27: “Genl Taylor” And Bust – “Fells Point / Balto” And Monument Portrait Flask, Baltimore Glass Works, Baltimore, Maryland, 1830-1850. Bright light to medium moss green, sheared mouth – pontil scar, pint; (light exterior wear). GI-73 Exceptional, rare color. Fine condition. – Norman C. Heckler & Company

Support Images: Auction Lot 158: “Genl Taylor” And Bust – “Fells Point / Balto” And Monument Portrait Flask, Baltimore Glass Works, Baltimore, Maryland, 1830-1850. Aquamarine, sheared mouth – pontil scar, pint; (1/16 inch flake on medial rib). GI-73 Numerous small bubbles and an attractive longer neck. Generally fine condition. – Norman C. Heckler & Company

Support Images: Auction Lot 3: “Genl Taylor” And Bust – “Fells Point / Balto” And Monument Portrait Flask, Baltimore Glass Works, Baltimore, Maryland, 1830-1850. Medium amethyst with wine tones, sheared mouth – pontil scar, pint; (light exterior high point wear, light interior content residue). GI-73 Extremely rare and beautiful color. This exciting flask hasn’t been offered publicly in 72 years. Fine condition. Ex George Horace Lorimer collection, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, 1944, #244. – Norman C. Heckler & Company, Auction #143

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 Baltimore Beauties, by Mark Vuono, Antique Bottle & Glass Collector, March 2012

Support Image: Baltimore’s Washington Monument under construction in 1828 (looking north). A watercolor, ink, and graphite drawing by John Rubens Smith, via the Library of Congress. Inset picture W. H. Bartlett, “Washington’s Monument, Baltimore,” in Nathaniel Parker Willis, American Scenery; or, Land, Lake and River Illustrations of Transatlantic Nature (1840), vol. 2, pl. 47. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

Support Image: Auction Lot #2: “Genl Taylor” And Bust – “Fells Point / Balto” And Monument Portrait Flask, Baltimore Glass Works, Baltimore, Maryland, 1830-1850. Puce with a gray overtone, inward rolled mouth – tubular pontil scar, pint. GI-73 Fine condition, extremely rare color, beautiful. Ex Edmund & Jayne Blaske collection. Note on the bottom by Tom indicating “one of my favorites”. – Norman C. Heckler – Tom McCandless Collection Auction

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