Prints, Drawings, and Photographs
Birth and Baptismal CertificateMade in Union County, Pennsylvania, United States, North and Central America
Francis Portzline, American, 1771 - 1857
Watercolor wash, pigments in gum medium, and ink on wove paper
Currently not on view
1928-10-90Gift of J. Stogdell Stokes, 1928
LabelThe colorful drawings known today as fraktur (so called because of the "fractured" Gothic script employed) were created as blessings, rewards of merit, or personal records of confirmation, marriage, or baptism, as in this example. Like many fraktur artists, Francis Portzline taught school and had special skills in lettering and painting. In his work, the surrounding birds, butterflies, and flowers reinforce the celebratory nature of the religious ceremony. Such records were important for membership in the Lutheran or Reformed Churches; their texts also offered spiritual guidance for their owners.