An Attack upon China

Description (Brief)
Sentimental genre prints documented the social image of Victorian virtue through domestic scenes of courtship, family, home life, and images of the “genteel female.” Children are depicted studying nature or caring for their obedient pets as they learn their place in the greater world. Romantic scenes picture devoted husbands with their contented, dutiful wives. In these prints, young women educated in reading, music, needlework, the arts, the language of flowers, basic math and science are subjugated to their family’s needs.
These prints became popular as lithography was introduced to 19th Century Americans. As a new art form, it was affordable for the masses and provided a means to share visual information by crossing the barriers of race, class, and language. Sentimental prints encouraged the artistic endeavors of schoolgirls and promoted the ambitions of amateur artists, while serving as both moral instruction and home or business decoration. They are a pictorial record of our romanticized past.
This is a black and white print; domestic interior scene of boy at play in front of a tall cabinet. The boy is holding a shield and attacking with a sword objects that include an oriental vase with two gloves on poles sitting on an ornate side chair to make up his main adversary. A broken oriental figurine lies at his feet while another is standing on the other side of the chair. A woman, dressed in a simple costume, is coming from the background and looks upset at the scene of destruction. A brief prose narrative is below the print.
The print was produced by Nathaniel Hickman, a lithographer/publisher active in Baltimore 1835-1867.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
date made
Hickman, Nathaniel
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
image: 10 1/2 in x 8 in; 26.67 cm x 20.32 cm
overall: 19 1/2 in x 14 in; 49.53 cm x 35.56 cm
place made
United States: Maryland, Baltimore
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Domestic Furnishings
Peters Prints
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Domestic Life
Peters Prints
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection

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