Mar 30, 2017 - Sale 2441

Sale 2441 - Lot 328

Price Realized: $ 5,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 3,500 - $ 5,000
(FRATERNAL.) BOWSER, DAVID BUSTILL. A pair of elaborate and unusual Masonic vests, each with the oval stamp of 'Mrs. D[avid]. B[ustil]. Bowser Odd Fellows and Masonic Depot' on the inside. Each is 24 inches long and 7 inches wide at the widest point, at the bottom edge. One is made of deep green velvet, lined with red silk and elaborately embroidered in a complex floral 'vine' with silver thread; with 'PO OS' within an oval border. The other, made of black velvet with red silk lining; is elaborately embroidered with gold thread. In the upper shoulder area is an eye, hand-painted with the letters 'NO OF' within an oval border; all edges with tassels of metallic gold thread. A modern print, taken from a contemporary photograph of a member of the order wearing one of these aprons is included. Philadelphia, circa 1868-1900.

Additional Details

two exceedingly rare masonic ceremonial vests, designed by philadelphia artist david bustill bowser (1820-1900) and manufactured by him and his wife at their depot on North Fourth Street. David Bustill Bowser studied art at his cousin Sara Mapps Douglass' school, with Robert Douglass. Following the Emancipation Proclamation, Bowser was able to secure the contract to design the banners for the newly formed regiments of colored troops training at Camp William Penn. We only know what seven of the banners looked like, and that only from photographs taken at the time (see our last catalogue, lot 321). The originals were stored at West Point until 1940 when they were thrown out. Bowser was a fine artist, as one can see in his portrait of John Brown who sat for him at the Bowser home.