The Mermaid flag
of the Colonial Navy of Massachusetts
Mermaids have been in folklore for thousands of years. Sailors across the world have reported mermaid sightings and have tales from the sea throughout history. By the start of the revolutionary war, much of the superstition of mermaids had been put to rest but the icon of the mermaid remained firmly engrained in the life of a sailor. Members of the Colonial Navy of Massachusetts would have used the mermaid as a mascot or a vessel identifier.
The Mermaid flag of the Colonial Navy of Massachusetts is a reproduction of a historical flag found by the Chairman of the Parade Committee and Fife Captain, Bill Hart Sr in St Augustine, FL during the CNM visit to central Florida for the Delray St Patrick’s day parade in 2018.
The photograph of the original painting was used to make a full-scale, detailed sketch, accomplished by Lee Singer. A pattern was made from the sketch, from which individual pieces were cut. A number of fabrics were selected to represent each individual part of the mermaid. The fabrics were cut using the patterns, two of each piece, in order to produce the mirrored image on both sides of the flag. An iron-on adhesive was applied to each individual piece that was then placed on the background, layering to maintain dimension. The whole process was repeated on the opposite side. Each piece was then sewn along its edge to complete the applique. Tabs for a flagpole were sewn in place and grommets for tying in place were applied. The facial and body details were hand drawn and colored by Lee Singer. The finished flag, measuring 3ft x 5ft, in the planning for almost 2 years, was completed over a 2 month period by Lee Singer and Pam Burlingame. Honorable mention is made to Rita Singer, for construction consultation and moral support!