A "Cross-Matched" Team

Thomas B. Worth American
Lithographed and published by Currier & Ives American

Not on view

Thomas B. Worth, who was noted for illustrations of horses and horse racing, designed many images for Currier & Ives. In this comic horse scene, a man, seated in a four-wheeled buggy (at right), tries unsuccessfully to control his two horse-team. His mouth is wide open in an outraged howl. At the center of the image, the pair of skittish horses rebel: the dark brown horse (closest to the viewer) rears, while the white horse kicks up its hind legs. Clearly, the driver and his two horses are not well matched. In the left background, another buggy approaches with its driver in competent command of his trotting horse team.

Nathaniel Currier (1813–1888), 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. In 1857, Currier made James Merritt Ives (1824–1895) a business partner. People eagerly acquired Currier & Ives lithographs, such as those featuring spectacular American landscapes, rural and city views, marines, portraits, domestic life and numerous other subjects, as an inexpensive way to decorate their homes or business establishments. The firm operated until 1907. Until the 1880s, images were printed in monochrome, then hand-colored by women who worked for the company; later prints were printed in color.

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