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 colored print is an indoor scene of a young man seated on an ornate upholstered armchair with one foot resting on a side chair. The bachelor is dressed in a double breasted, plaid weskit, plaid pants, a large silk tie and fitted coat. He is smoking a cigar and has the newspaper "Spirit of the Times" resting in his lap. The headline reads "War/10,000/Recruits/for Mexic/Great/Foot Race/President's Message. The lithographer also promotes himself by including his own advertisement with a list of his retailer. It reads: "Cheap Prints/Cheapest in the World/at J. Baillie's/ New York and sond by/Sowle & Shaw/52 Cornhill/Boston/A.H. Stillwell/Providence/R.I./A.J. Loomis/9 Washington/St.... J. Bar.../ 39 Fourth St./ Philadelphia." Room furnishings include a pedestal table with a marble top, another table with a fringed tablecloth, a clock and candleabrum on the marble fireplace mantle. On the pedestal table there is a basket of fruit, wine bottle and glass, a container of cigars, a can of sardines and a knife. Patterned wallpaper, patterned carpet and heavy fringed drapery complete the scene. Prints depicting a bachelor in his quarters and titled Single were common during this period and were often part of a series the included Married.
This print was produced by James S Baillie, was active in New York from 1838 to 1855. James Baillie started as a framer in 1838, and then became an artist and lithographer in 1843 or 1844. He discovered how to color lithographs while working as an independent contractor for Currier & Ives in the mid 1840’s. A prolific lithographer and colorist for Currier & Ives; his prints were extremely popular with a wide distribution. J. Baillie spent his later years concentrating on painting instead of lithography.
This print was inscribed "presented by Henry Lyman Chamberlain to the only man in the Junior Class or '48 & 9 not engaged. Bath April 9, 1849" W. L. Gardner .
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
date made
Chamberlain, Henry Lyman
Gardner, W. H.
Baillie, James S.
Physical Description
hand-colored (image production method/technique)
ink (overall material)
paper (overall material)
image: 12 in x 8 1/2 in; 30.48 cm x 21.59 cm
overall: 14 in x 10 in; 35.56 cm x 25.4 cm
place made
United States: New York, New York
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Courtship, love
Chronology: 1840-1849
Clothing & Accessories
Communication, newspapers
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
maker referenced
Peters, Harry T.. America on Stone

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