New York Bay, from Bay Ridge, L.I.

Frances Flora Bond Palmer American, born England
Publisher Currier & Ives American

Not on view

In this bucolic scene of life on Long Island, a man drives a horse-drawn carriage with two women passengers away from a large house set amid its tree-dotted property sited on the waterfront of New York Bay. On the lawn at right, a man on a ladder picks apples from a tree. In the background is a sweeping panorama of ships on the bay and the far shores extending from Bedlows Island (far left), to Jersey City and Hoboken on the New Jersey shore (center), to lower Manhattan (far right). The artist Frances Palmer has created a captivating picture of New York scenery that would appeal to both urban and country collectors.

Nathaniel Currier, who established a successful New York-based lithography firm in 1835, produced thousands of hand-colored prints in various sizes that together create a vivid panorama of mid-to-late nineteenth century American life. Expansion led, in 1857, to a business partnership with James Merritt Ives (1824–1895), a skilled accountant, who was the brother-in-law of Nathaniel's brother Charles. People eagerly acquired Currier & Ives lithographs, such as those featuring spectacular American landscapes, or rural and city views, hunting and fishing scenes, domestic life and numerous other subjects, as an inexpensive way to decorate their homes or business establishments.

Frances (Fanny) Palmer immigrated to New York from England in 1844. Already an accomplished artist and printmaker, Fanny and her husband Seymour operated a small print-shop in lower Manhattan until 1849, when the couple moved to Brooklyn. Nathaniel Currier began to buy print designs from Palmer around this time, and she became a staff artist for Currier & Ives after 1857. As a designer able to transfer images to lithographic stones for printing, Palmer produced more than 200 prints for the firm and today is regarded as a leading woman lithographer of the period. Although it was unusual for a woman to achieve such prominence in a printing firm, Palmer filled an important role for Currier and Ives firm, as she created the firm's best landscapes and most engaging scenes of daily life.

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