There's a lot we don't know about the elaborately designed and printed silk
cloth below. The image of "Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe"
clearly dates it from the time the novel was first published. The quality and
content of the illustrations
and the overall worksmanship suggest it was manufactured in England, very likely
during Stowe's visit there in
early 1853, when there was something of a rage for "Uncle Tom" artifacts. It is catalogued
in the Gilder Lehrman Collection as a
"banner," but would more likely have been sold as a "scarf." Despite the name, it was less
likely to be worn than carried as a decorative handkerchief, or--most probably--displayed at home on a
table or as a wall-hanging.|
The cloth depicts eight scenes from the novel. It's interesting to think about which scenes were chosen, and how they have been organized for this display. You can enlarge any scene by clicking on it.