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 full length hand colored portrait print is of a young woman in a bridal gown that includes a two tiered skirt with eyelet lace trim and a long lace trimmed veil. She holds a book, probably a Bible, in one hand, and in the other she holds her veil. Behind the bride is a round, three-legged table with a vase of flowers. Patterned drapery partially blocks the window; the wall and carpet have decorative patterns.
This print was produced by James S Baillie, who was active in New York from 1838 to 1855. James Baillie started as a framer in 1838, and then became an artist and lithographer in 1843 or 1844. He discovered how to color lithographs while working as an independent contractor for Currier & Ives in the mid 1840’s. A prolific lithographer and colorist for Currier & Ives, his prints were extremely popular with a wide distribution. J. Baillie spent his later years concentrating on painting instead of lithography.