Woodland scene of Mother bird with eight chicks. Title forwarded by “Presented by the Illinois Medical Infirmary, Charleston, Ill.
The Cares of a Family, 1856 Hand-colored lithograph Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait is considered one of America’s finest animal painters. He became interested in frontier life when traveling with artist George Catlin who specialized in documenting the Plains Indians. In the 1860s, Tait became known for painting fowl, game and domestic animals in natural settings. In 1866, lithographer Louis Prang purchased several of Tait’s paintings so that he could reproduce them. Currier & Ives began creating lithographs of Tait’s work shortly thereafter. Tait’s images of wild life and birds were especially popular during the 19th century. This image shows adult quails keeping a watchful over their young, trying to anticipate their needs. The Travelers Insurance Company selected this image for their 1937 calendar to appeal to parents of young children. Currier & Ives prints often show evidence of their age. The prints were commonly framed with wooden backboards, which eventually stained the paper, and left outlines of wood knots on the front of the image. Hanging the prints in direct sunlight resulted in color fading and damage to the paper. Water stains and tears are also common. Today conservators recommend that framed works on paper be backed with acid-free board and kept out of light as much as possible to maintain the original colors. Gift of Lenore B. And Sidney A. Alpert, supplemented with Museum Acquisition Funds 2004.D03.269