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 with full length portraits of grandmother, mother and two children, one of whom is an infant being nursed by the mother. The older child holds a basket of kittens and mother cat is grabbing at her apron. All are wearing simple, everyday dress. Depicted furnishings include chairs with wicker bottoms, a chest, a tray and a two shelf bookcase is hung on the wall with wire. Vase and sewing accessories are on the window sill, while toys are scattered on the floor.
This print was produced by the lithographic firm E.B. & E.C. Kellogg. Edmund Burke Kellogg and Elijah Chapman Kellogg were brothers of the founder of the Kellogg lithography firm, Daniel Wright Kellogg. After D.W. Kellogg moved west, his two brothers took over the family lithography firm in 1840 and changed the name to E.B. & E.C. Kellogg. The youngest of the four Kellogg brothers, these two were responsible for the continued success of the family firm. These two brothers were also involved in the eventual partnerships between the company and Horace Thayer in 1845 or 1846, John Chenevard Comstock in 1848 and William Henry Bulkeley in 1867.
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