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 hand colored print is an interior scene of four children with an adult dog and four puppies. One child is seated in an ornate chair; the others are gathered around the chair and footstool. The furnishings depicted include an elaborate carpet, a floral arrangement and rich drapery. A ball, doll and book are in the foreground. The children wear fancy dress.
This print was produced by the lithographic firm E.B. & E.C. Kellogg. Edmund Burke Kellogg and Elijah Chapman Kellogg were brothers of the founder of the Kellogg lithography firm, Daniel Wright Kellogg. After D.W. Kellogg moved west, his two brothers took over the family lithography firm in 1840 and changed the name to E.B. & E.C. Kellogg. The youngest of the four Kellogg brothers, these two were responsible for the continued success of the family firm. These two brothers were also involved in the eventual partnerships between the company and Horace Thayer in 1845 or 1846, John Chenevard Comstock in 1848 and William Henry Bulkeley in 1867.