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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 interior scene of a family of five seated in the parlor. The infant, dressed in a long gown, is being held on the mother's lap, the middle child stands between the parents holding on to the father and the eldest girl sits on a stool reading a book. An ornate sofa, heavy red drapes, landscape picture in a fancy frame and a patterned rug on floor complete the domestic scene. This is one of several prints with the same title, depicting a contented family. These happy family scenes were meant to contrast with the restless, discontented bachelor prints.
The print was produced by the lithography firm of Kelloggs & Thayer. Kelloggs and Thayer was the first partnership formed by Elijah Chapman and Edmund Burke Kellogg after they took over the family firm from their brother Daniel Wright Kellogg. Horace Thayer was a map dealer and in 1845 or 1846 the partnetship opened a shop in New York. The partnership appears to have dissolved in 1847. In 1848, the Kellogg brothers formed a new partnership with John Cheneyard Comstock.
Object Name
Object Type
date made
Needham, D.
Kelloggs & Thayer
place made
United States: New York, New York City
Physical Description
hand-colored (image production method/technique)
ink (overall material)
paper (overall material)
image: 11 3/4 in x 8 1/2 in; 29.845 cm x 21.59 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
maker number
Credit Line
Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection
Chronology: 1840-1849
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Domestic Life
Domestic Furnishings
Peters Prints
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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