The Baker's Wagon

William P. Chappel American

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Against the backdrop of the potter William Marshall’s shop and the widow Bumstead’s corner home, a baker drives his cart full of fresh bread down Hester Street in the tenth ward. A staple of the American diet, a simple loaf of bread could be a very serious matter. Since the city’s settlement, government officials regulated the price, quality, and weight of bread made by licensed bakers, who had to initial all their loaves. The bakers often argued that the city’s fixed rates, or assizes, were too low and pushed for free-market pricing, which they eventually achieved by the 1820s.

The Baker's Wagon, William P. Chappel (American, 1801–1878), Oil on slate paper, American

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