This colored print depicts two scenes, one at the center and the other on the left, from the play The Colonel. The top corners each contain a circular portrait, one of Eric Bayley and the other of Mindha Bayley. Other characters are pictured down the right side and in an inset scene at the bottom, with a peacock and frogs in rushes in the light of a full moon. There are also several sunflowers in the design.
The Colonel tells the story of two imposters trying to get control of another family's fortune. It was written by F. C. Burnand (1836-1917), a British writer and editor of Punch, and based on an earlier drama called The Serious Family by Morris Barnett (1800-1856). It was first produced in London in 1881 and brought to the United States by Eric and Mindha Bayley in 1882. Eric Bayley played the role of Edward Langton and Mindha performed as a character named Olive.
This chromolithograph was produced by Forbes Lithograph Manufacturing Company and Joseph Edwin Baker. Baker (1837-1914) was a lithographer, cartoonist and pencil portraitist known for an 1860 portrait of Abraham Lincoln. He began his printing career as an apprentice at J. H. Bufford & Co. in 1857, and eventually became John Bufford’s principal draftsman and illustrator of sheet music. During the Civil War, Baker produced political cartoons and lithographs for Bufford. He also created playbills and advertisements for the Forbes Company and marine scenes. Baker later worked for Armstrong & Company, remaining active until 1888.
The Forbes Lithograph Manufacturing Company was founded by William H. Forbes (ca 1836-1915), who immigrated to the United States from Liverpool, England in 1848. Forbes became an apprentice in the lithography business while still a boy and established William H. Forbes and Company in Boston in 1861. The firm expanded to become Forbes Lithograph Manufacturing Company in 1875 with hundreds of employees and offices in Boston, New York, Chicago, and London. During World War II, the company became a major printer of allied military currency but went out of business later in the 20th century.
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