Art for Everyone

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(c) Connecticut Explored Fall 2021

Historians call most of the 19th century the Victorian period. The era was named for the Queen of England. Queen Victoria reigned from 1837 to 1901. That’s more than half of the 19th century!

Queen Victoria of England, c. 1845. Printed by E. B. & E. C. Kellogg, Hartford. Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford

Queen Victoria reigned during a time of great change in England, the United States, and elsewhere. For example, the industrial revolution changed the way things were made. Instead of things being made by hand, they began to be made by workers and machines in factories.

One industrial innovation was in art. Before this era, a painting took an artist a long time to create. Only one person could own it. Only wealthy people could afford to purchase it. In the Victorian period, art became available that almost anyone could own.

The Kellogg brothers were printers in Hartford. Daniel, Edmund, and Elijah Kellogg printed pictures. They printed thousands of them! They printed many different pictures, and they printed many copies of each one. They called them “fancy prints.”

People bought them to decorate their homes. They could choose pictures of battle scenes, famous people, and religious topics. But they also could buy prints of cute babies, cuddly cats and dogs, and funny stories. Their “fancy prints” were very popular.

Fishing, c. 1857 – 1867. Printed by E. B. & E. C. Kellogg, Hartford. Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford

The Kellogg brothers started their company by 1832. They didn’t last as long as Queen Victoria, though. By the 1860s, none of the brothers worked for the company.

Many of their prints can still be seen today. Find a link HERE. A close look tells us many interesting details about life in America 150 years ago.

Sources: “Rivaling Currier & Ives: The Kellogg Brothers,” Connecticut Explored, Fall 2007; Nancy Finlay, ed., Picturing Victorian America: Prints by the Kellogg Brothers of Harford, Connecticut, 1830 -1880 (Connecticut Historical Society, 2009.)

Explore!

Connecticut Historical Society has a large collection of Kellogg Brother “fancy prints.” Find them at http://emuseum.chs.org/emuseum/collections and click on the icon for Kellogg Brothers Lithographs.

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