Featured Objects

Traveling Trunk Owned by Baron de la Roche, 1964.79.1

This beautiful traveling case was once owned by Baron de la Roche who was an aide de camp to Lafayette during the American Revolution. He was born in Treves, Germany in 1757 and raised there though his family was originally French. He attained the rank of officer in the American army and in 1790 de la Roche became an American citizen. Later he returned to Europe and was killed in the in the Battle of Austerlitz, one of Napoleon's greatest victories.

Grasshopper Weathervane, Maker Unknown, Copper and Glass, 1987.49.3.1. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Legum.

Weathervanes have been in existence for over 3500 years and are mentioned in early writings from Mesopotamia. Their name comes from the Old English word fane which means flag or banner. They are one of the earliest forms of weather prediction and though they certainly weren’t as accurate as today’s technology they helped societies to better predict weather trends and strengthen their agricultural production.

Anne Brooke Ellicott (Tyson) Paint Box. Early 1800s, Ellicott’s Mills, Maryland.1996.39.2.1

This box labeled, “Osburne’s Water Color Box and Sketches,” includes a stone mixing palette, a water dish, a mixing tool, brushes, and several color cakes. It was owned by Anne Brooke Ellicott (1801–1839), was the granddaughter of Andrew Ellicott, one of the three brothers who established Ellicott’s Mills. Like other educated girls of her day, she was taught to draw and paint, as well as do needlework. Her sketchbook which is also in our collection documents her considerable artistic skill.

Crazy Quilt made by Mrs. Hiram D. Musselman of Baltimore, circa 1880. Silk velvet, silk, silk threads, silk damask, cotton. Maryland Historical Society, Gift of Mr. Charles F. Musselman and Mr. Francis C. Musselman.1948.3.1

In a crazy quilt, irregularly-shaped “scraps” of fabric are sewn to a lighter weight foundation fabric. Rows of fancy, hand-sewn embroidery hold the scraps in place in a similar manner to the earlier appliqué technique seen on other Baltimore quilts. These patched silks and velvets were never assembled into a crazy quilt. Today, they appear almost as they did when they were first created.

William Patterson (1752-1835) by Thomas Sully, 1821. 1883.1.1

William Patterson was an Irish immigrant who made his fortune during the Revolutionary War, trading with France for powder and arms for General Washington’s troops. In 1778, when he arrived in Baltimore from Philadelphia, he possessed $100,000 to invest in shipping and real estate. He continued to grow his financial investments and shipping empire throughout his lifetime. In 1827, Patterson donated five acres of land to the city for a park which today is known as Patterson Park.

Sugar Bowl made by James W. Mackley in 1876, Thurmont, Maryland. Glazed redware. 1954.43.5 a-b

This whimsical sugar bowl with its bird finial and exhuberant floral decoration is the work of James Mackley after he and Anthony Bacher terminated their working relationship in 1868. The molded flowers seen on both this sugar bowl and the flower box may have been one of Mackley’s signature motifs.

George Washington at Dorchester Heights, 1777 by Jane Stuart. 1918.8.1

George Washington was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and served as the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He also presided over the Convention that drafted the Constitution which replaced the Articles of Confederation. Washington was elected as our nation’s first President with a unanimous vote of the 69 electors in 1788, he served two terms in office.

Sketch by Pamela Vinton Ravenel, "Eleanor's ringlets being made on the curling stick by Jane". 1955.35.7

Pamela Vinton Ravenel (1883-1955) was a well known early southern female artist born in Brookline, Massachusetts, but moved to Baltimore as a young girl. In 1917, she lived in Roland Park and eventually studied at Maryland Institute and College of Art and later in Paris. She was also a member of an art colony in Woodstock, New York known for their interpretations of every day life. Today, her paintings are held by many museums, including the Virginia Museum of Art in Richmond and the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

 

Sketch by Pamela Vinton Ravenel, "Hats I Hated or Loved". 1955.35.4

Pamela Vinton Ravenel (1883-1955) was a well known early southern female artist born in Brookline, Massachusetts, but moved to Baltimore as a young girl. In 1917, she lived in Roland Park and eventually studied at Maryland Institute and College of Art and later in Paris. She was also a member of an art colony in Woodstock, New York known for their interpretations of every day life. Today, her paintings are held by many museums, including the Virginia Museum of Art in Richmond and the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

Canteen circa 1813

This canteen is a rare and well-preserved artifact from Baltimore in the era of the War of 1812. The inscription indicates use in the Sea Fencibles, a mariner militia organized by Congress for coastal defense. Two companies were formed in Baltimore in 1813, and they assisted the defense of Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in 1814. Captain William H. Addison commanded the second company, which probably included the owner of this canteen. Gift to the Maryland Historical Society from the estate of Edward Stabler Jr., 1923.

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