A Match Against Time!

Thomas B. Worth American
Publisher Currier & Ives American

Not on view

Thomas Worth, among America’s prolific nineteenth-century illustrators, excelled at drawing trotting horses and comic subjects, many of which were made into lithographs published by Currier & Ives. In this humorous racing scene (shown in a side view), a jersey-clad, bald, elderly man (Father Time with his long white hair and beard flowing behind him) pedals a tricycle barefoot towards the right. The front wheel of the tricycle is a stop watch, and the two rear wheels are clocks. Straining and stretching to pass the old tricycle rider, a lean brown horse pulls a sulky (2-wheeled cart) and its driver. In the process, the galloping horse has lost all of its horseshoes (each is scattered across the racers's path).

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 America. In 1857, James Merritt Ives (1824–1895), the accounting-savvy brother-in-law of Nathaniel's brother Charles, was made a business partner. People eagerly acquired Currier & Ives lithographs, such as those featuring spectacular American landscapes, 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.

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