A Hard Problem: An Aldine Publishing Co. Engraving attributed to Thomas Brooks

A Hard Problem: An Aldine Publishing Co. Engraving attributed to Thomas Brooks

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This 19th century engraving is entitled “A Hard Problem.” It is a sensitive portrait of a well-dressed African-American boy seated on a wooden stool. He is holding a slate with a math problem written on it and staring off in deep contemplation.
The inscription below the image reads: “A Hard Problem – After T. Brooks”. Thomas Brooks was an accomplished British artist (1818-1891). He was born in Hull, and exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1843 and 1882. "Brooks specialized in scenes of 'social realism' designed to prick the conscience of the nation,” according to an essay by Christie’s auction house (April 8, 2008).
The engraving was produced in 1876-1877 by the Aldine Publishing Company of New York. It is signed at the bottom with the publisher’s name.
Currently not on view
Object Name
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date made
Aldine Publishing Company
place made
United States: New York, New York
Physical Description
ink (overall material)
paper (overall material)
print: 16 cm x 11 cm x 7.4 cm; 6 5/16 in x 4 11/32 in x 2 29/32 in
image: 13 1/2 in x 9 1/4 in; 34.29 cm x 23.495 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Dr. Richard Lodish American School Collection
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Cultural and Community Life: Education
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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