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 outdoor scene of a naked child with a drum on his back facing a dog seated on a large rock. A toy gun is propped against the dog.
This print was produced by the lithography firm of Risso & Browne. The firm was founded in New York City by Charles Risso and William R Browne in 1832. The firm produced portrait prints, satirical prints, city views, sheet music, technical prints of silk worms and sentimental images. In 1837 Charles Risso left New York for the city of New Orleans and continued to make prints. He returned to New York in 1846. Browne continued to use the company’s name through 1839.