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Sale 2517 Lot 198
(ROOSEVELT, THEODORE.) Large embroidery of the Great White Fleet. Embroidered textile with silk and photographic insets, 44 x 24 1/2 inches to sight, minimal wear. Not examined out of period frame. [Yokohama, Japan: George Washington Company, 1908]
Estimate $3,000 - 4,000
This richly textured textile was produced to commemorate the Great White Fleet, the international goodwill tour which advertised American diplomacy and naval might to the world. It was marketed to the fleet's sailors calling at Yokohama, Japan. The textiles were customized by the manufacturer, who offered a choice of designs, of portraits in the center area, and of the large rectangular views in the area just below the portraits. The purchaser also provided his own photographic portrait to be inserted in the life preserver at bottom. The present example bears the slogan "In Memory of Our Famous Cruise Around the World" over a stylized eagle and backing frame of 6 overlapping draped American flags, with stacked cannonballs and crossed cannons at bottom over a ribbon reading "E pluribus unum." At center is a silk portrait of President Roosevelt, flanked by the fleet's original commander Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans and his successor Charles Stillman Sperry. Below is a view of the fleet with Mount Fuji in the background, near Yokohama. The sailor in the photograph at bottom wears a U.S.S. Vermont hat.