Parent birds and their family of eleven chicks grazing in field
In 1932, a dozen collectors of Currier & Ives prints met to determine the 50 large-folio images they regarded as the best produced by firm. In 1933, The New York Sun ran an each image a day with a description of the print, much to the delight of the public. Interest in Currier & Ives prints escalated and the group met the next year to select the “Best 50” small-folio images. The 100 works are considered to be classic Currier & Ives and continue today to be some of the most popular of the firm’s output. The Cares of the Family, designed by Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait (1819-1905), was listed as number 44 on the list of original “Best 50.” This charming work shows a mother and father quail on a summer’s stroll with their family. The father keeps watch for danger while the mother hovers around their babies. The print formed a pair with The Happy Family: Ruffed Grouse and Young designed by Frances Flora (Fanny) Palmer (1812-1876). Many prints were sold by Currier & Ives to insurance companies who overprinted the image to use as promotional advertisements for their firm. Here the company plays on the image’s sense of protection and security to promote its services.