These happy family scenes were meant to contrast with the restless, discontented bachelor prints. 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 of a young man lounging in an ornate chair with his feet elevated up on footstool in front of a fire place. He is wearing an embroidered fitted coat, ascot, plaid pants and is holding a cigar in his left hand, and a sheet of paper in his right. There is an ornate clock above the decorative coal burning fireplace, a tall bookcase just behind him and there is a stringed musical instrument (guitar?) hanging on the side of the bookshelf. There is fringed drapery just behind his chair, a table with a fringed table cloth, and a fringed rug on top of a patterned carpet. There is sporting equipment on the wall including a rifle, boxing gloves, fencing rapiers, powder horns, saddle bag, and a sword. 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.

Date Made: 1848

Maker: Baillie, James S.

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: New York, New York City

Subject: Chronology: 1840-1849Courtship, loveFurnishingsCommunication, letter writingHeatingClocksBoxingMusicFencingDepicted: Smoking


See more items in: Home and Community Life: Domestic Life, Clothing & Accessories, Art, Domestic Furnishings


Exhibition Location:

Related Publication: Peters, Harry T.. America on Stone, Garvan, Anthony N. B. and Peter C. Welsh. Victorian American

Credit Line: Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: DL.60.2271Catalog Number: 60.2271Accession Number: 228146

Object Name: lithographObject Type: Lithograph

Physical Description: hand-colored (image production method/technique)ink (overall material)paper (overall material)Measurements: image: 11 1/2 in x 8 1/2 in; 29.21 cm x 21.59 cmoverall: 14 in x 10 in; 35.56 cm x 25.4 cm


Record Id: nmah_324609

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