c. 1820 William Woodruff Printed on Silk DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE "Threads of History" Listed and Illustrated as Item #57, Page 72
(DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE) c. 1820 Bandanna on White Silk titled, "IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776. - THE - Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of AMERICA", by William Woodruff, Listed as similar to #57 on page 72 of "Threads of History," France, Very Fine.
c. 1820, Outstanding exceptional quality Black on White Silk Printing of the Declaration of Independence, measuring 19" x 26.5" (by sight), and it is not apparent if there is an outer border design as it is framed for display to an overall size of 20.75" x 28.25" under archival Plexiglas. Printed on exceptionally clean vibrant silk, having superb contrast and eye appeal. There are just a few trivial faint spots of lighter or deeper tone all being well away from the printed designs near the outer margins. This example is specifically mentioned and listed as being similar to the example noted as #57 on page 72 of "Threads of History" by Collins, published by the Smithsonian, which was Lithographed by H. Brunet et Cie, Lyons, France. The French were so active in the manufacture of silk textiles.
This Silk shows the Woodruff facsimile of the Declaration of Independence by printed in rich black framed by a wreath containing distinctive portraits of the first three Presidents, Washington, Jefferson and Adams and Seals representing the original Thirteen States; surmounted by trumpets, flags and eagle in design. Text along the bottom is inscribed: "To the People of the United States this Engraving of Declaration of Independence is most respectfully inscribed: Woodruff."
The medallion image of George Washington at top is flanked by cornucopia, trumpets and flags, and crowned by a large American eagle, can be seen in very similar format on silk kerchiefs noted by Collins. We previously sold another example Engraved by William Woodruff, by Published by O. Rogers, No. 67 South 2nd St. Philadelphia, in Choice Fine condition in our EAHA Auction of November 15, 2008, Lot 2019 selling for $8,575. This current specimen is superior in quality and the very first example of this extremely rare French variation of America's most cherished document we have encountered.
William Woodruff's engraved copy of the Declaration of Independence appeared just before the Binns copy. While Binns had Hancock's image, Woodruff used John Adams, the signatures rather than facsimiles are calligraphic, and said to be near exact as the originals.
The engraving was printed several times, the first being in 1819, and the last being about 1840. The printings were not all done by the same printer, therefore when finding a Woodruff engraving there may be several markings on the lower edge depicting the printer's name and one such printing had Woodruff's signature, in this current instance showing simply the printed "Woodruff".