The Man That Kept the Bridge

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 scene on a country road, a man sits in a horse-drawn carriage (shown from the back) that has stopped in the middle of a short, narrow wooden bridge. The man (who wears a black top hat and blue coat) has both arms raised, with both hands in white mitts; in his left hand, he holds a black, closed umbrella. In the background, racing in a swirl of dust, two horse-drawn wagons--flanking a lone-horesback rider-- head toward the bridge blocked by the carriage..

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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