Dress up in Front

Dress up in Front

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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 a full length view of a woman lifting her skirt as she steps from a curb to the street. The woman is wearing a fancy bonnet with a veil, a loose fitting jacket, a long flowing skirt over a striped petticoat and hoop and high button shoes. A man is watching her over her right shoulder; over her left shoulder a man is driving a carriage or a wagon.
This lithograph was printed by John Henry Bufford (1810-1870), from Portsmouth, Massachusetts. Prior to moving to New York in 1835, Bufford apprenticed under William S. Pendleton. In New York, he worked for George Endicott and later Nathaniel Currier. In 1840, Bufford moved back to Boston and started work for another lithography firm. By 1844 the firm and shop name had changed to J.H. Bufford & Co. In 1867, Bufford became the manager of the New England Steam Lithographic Printing Company. He died three years later Boston.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
date made
Bufford, John Henry
place made
United States: Massachusetts, Boston
Physical Description
hand-colored (image production method/technique)
ink (overall material)
paper (overall material)
image: 11 in x 7 1/2 in; 27.94 cm x 19.05 cm
overall: 14 in x 11 in; 35.56 cm x 27.94 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection
Comic prints
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Cultural and Community Life: Domestic Life
Clothing & Accessories
Domestic Furnishings
Peters Prints
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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