An Evil Tree or the Natural Heart

An Evil Tree or the Natural Heart

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This hand-colored print depicts a barren tree growing from the soil of “Unbelief.” Its trunk is labeled "Pride" and "Self Will." Its main branches are "Lust of the Flesh," "Pride of Life," and "Lust of the Eye". It bears fruits representing various evils labeled "Love of the World" "Love of Pleasure" "Blindness of Heart" "Love of Praise" "Love of Honor" "Lasciviousness" "Vain glory" "Selflove" "Evil Desires" "A Wanton Eye" "Fornication" "Indulgence" "Uncleanness" Unprofitable Conversation" "Lightness of Spirit" "Discontent" "Mistrusting" "Love of Money" "Envy" "Unmercifulness" "Mistrust" "Mistrusting" "Foolish Jesting" "Resisting the / truth" "Boasting" "High mindedness" "Idleness" "Adultery" "Incest" "Reveling" "Drunkeness" "Gluttnoy [sic]" "Surmising" "Prejudice" "Scoffing at Religion" "Despising Good Men" "Unthankfulness" "Theft" "Deceit" "Sabbath breaking" "Cursing" "Swearing" "Despite / fulness" "Judging" "Anger" "Sodomy" "Bestiality" "Hatred" "Strife" "Wrath" "Blasphemy" "Backbiting" "Denying the Lord" "Disbelieving the Word" "Extortion" "Oppression" "Sacrilege" "Arianism" "Socinia nism" "Deism" "Disobedient to Parents" "Heresyscism" "Slandering" "Lying" "Murder" "Despair" "Rebellion" "Atheism" "Presumtion [sic]" "Antinomianism" "Witchcraft". There are no leaves or birds on its branches; the fire of Hell approaches from below as a burning bush. "Wrath," in the form of a storm, is approaching from above. A black bird flies off from the left side of the tree.
The stump of another tree that has been cut down is in the right foreground. Below the image is an inscription inspired by the prophet Matthew 7:18-19 -- “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
No artist or lithographer is listed on the print however this print may be an earlier version in reverse or mirror image of the 1830-1840 print by Daniel Wright Kellogg. It appears to be based on the composition by John Hagerty. A reverse or mirror image print is in the collections at the Connecticut Historical Society with the exact same placement of the letters and words but minus the serpent in the center lower branches of the tree.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
Date made
place made
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
image: 12 1/2 in x 9 1/2 in; 31.75 cm x 24.13 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection
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Cultural and Community Life: Domestic Life
Domestic Furnishings
Morality & Religious Prints
Peters Prints
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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