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 of a dog watching over a baby in a wicker cradle. The window behind the cradle is partially covered by the heavy drapery. Standing next to the window is a table with a brocade-edged tablecloth, five books and a vase with flowers. Above the table is a mirror with an ornate gold frame hanging on the wall. The room is carpeted with a patterned green rug on the floor.
This print was produced by the lithographic firm of Kelloggs & Comstock. In 1848, John Chenevard Comstock developed a partnership with E.B. and E.C. Kellogg. In 1850, Edmund Burke Kellogg left the firm, leaving his brother Elijah Chapman Kellogg and J.C. Comstock to run the lithography firm as Kellogg and Comstock. The short-lived partnership disbanded in 1851. It was not until 1855 that Edmund Burke Kellogg rejoined his brother E.C. Kellogg and continued the success of the family’s lithography firm.