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 three-quarter length hand colored portrait print depicts a young woman with brown hair standing indoors. She is looking over her left shoulder while leafing through a book which rests on an ornately carved table. A blue portrait vase containing flowers sits on top of the table. She is wearing a white dress with a sheer shoulder cape or a Bertha, rings, a gold bracelet and a headband. Heavy green fringed drapery hangs behind her and a corner of an ornate frame is visible in the right background.
This print was produced by the lithographic firm E.B. & E.C. Kellogg. Edmund Burke Kellogg and Elijah Chapman Kellogg were younger brothers of the founder of the Kellogg lithography firm, Daniel Wright Kellogg. After Daniel Wright Kellogg moved west, his two brothers took over the family lithography firm in 1840 and changed the name to E.B. & E.C. Kellogg. They were responsible for the continued success of the family firm and involved in the partnerships with Horace Thayer in 1845/1846, John Chenevard Comstock in 1848 and William Henry Bulkeley in 1867.