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 hand colored print is an interior scene of a family of five seated in the parlor. The father is seated on an ornate red upolstered sofa, his young son leaning against his knee holding a ball or piece of fruit, perhaps an apple. An infant sits in the mother's lap, while the eldest child, a daughter stands alongside the mother, entertaining the baby with her doll. The mother is seated in an upholstered red chair. Heavy drapes, a partial view of a landscape picture in a fancy frame, a patterned rug and foot pillow on floor complete this domestic scene. The couple gaze at each other and compositionally depict a balanced and equal family unit. This is one of several prints with the same title, depicting a contented family. These happy family scenes were meant to contrast with the restless, discontented bachelor prints.
This print was produced by the lithographic firm of Kelloggs & Comstock. In 1848, John Chenevard Comstock developed a partnership with E.B. and E.C. Kellogg. In 1850, Edmund Burke Kellogg left the firm, leaving his brother Elijah Chapman Kellogg and J.C. Comstock to run the lithography firm as Kellogg and Comstock. The short-lived partnership disbanded in 1851. It was not until 1855 that Edmund Burke Kellogg rejoined his brother E.C. Kellogg and continued the success of the family’s Lithography firm.
date made
Ensign, Thayer and Company
Kelloggs & Comstock
place made
United States: Connecticut, Hartford
Physical Description
hand-colored (image production method/technique)
ink (overall material)
paper (overall material)
image: 12 1/2 in x 8 1/2 in; 31.75 cm x 21.59 cm
overall: 14 in x 10 1/16 in; 35.56 cm x 25.55875 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
maker number
Credit Line
Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Domestic Life
Clothing & Accessories
Domestic Furnishings
Peters Prints
Within These Walls
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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