France, Royal Banner, late 18th century, with staff, Louis XIV or Louis XVI reigns, ex de Young.

This French Royal BAnner was formerly part of the collection of the M.H. de Young Museum. Founded in 1895 in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, the de Young Museum was San Francisco's first museum. It gained immediate success from its opening and has been an integral part of the cultural fabric of the city and a cherished destination for millions of residents and visitors to the region for over 100 years.

Michael Henry de Young, 1849 -1925, was an American journalist and businessman who owned and published the San Francisco Chronicle. He used his wealth to further his eclectic tastes and accumulated a collection of immense variety, and such diverse objects such as sculptures, paintings, flags, polished tree slabs, paintings, objet d'art, jewelry, a door reputedly from Newgate Prison, birds' eggs, handcuffs and thumbscrews, and a collection of knives and forks.

As San Francisco's premier repository the de Young Museum came to house a number of flags. associated with the American acquisition of the Philippines after the Spanish American War.

This interesting item requires extensive research for positive identification concerning its age and use. The central design shows the coat of arms of the French monarchy in long use until 1792.

The shield displays the three golden fleurs de lis which was supposedly a divine gift to France, the "first daughter of the [Catholic] Church." It also bears the royal crown and the collars of the Order of Saint Michael and of the Order of the Holy Spirit.

Since the design appears correctly when the 2.5" metallic fringe frames the bottom and side edges, the flag was probably meant to be displayed vertically. The most common examples of such usage were military trumpet and drum banners. Hundreds of these were once in use, but most have now been lost in war or through neglect.

The Latin motto at the bottom (Domine Salvum Fac Regem) translates as "O Lord, Save the King." The text appearing on a label attached on the reverse of the flag ("Made in France") was probably added around the time it came into the possession of the De Young Museum. The staff associated with this flag is ZFC1486 in the De Young Museum collection.

* Made in France late 18th Century.
* Acquired personally by Michael Henry de Young in France.
* Conveyed to de Young Museum.
* Sold via Butterfield & Butterfield Auctions in San Francisco, CA, to the * Zaricor Flag Collection through Auction held on August 25-26, 1997.


History of the de Young Museum, de Young, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 16 November 2011:

The Kingdom of France, The Arms of France, French Heraldry and Related Topics, 16 November 2011:

New France, Wikipedia, 16 November 2011, from: 16 November 2011:

Image Credits:
Zaricor Flag Collection