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The Comic Natural History of the Human Race

The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd.Historical Prints

The Comic Natural History of the Human Race

Henry L. Stephens, A Jolly Cock.  From A Comic Natural History of the Human Race.  Philadelphia: Samuel Robinson, 1851. Star Fish Henry L. Stephens, Catorn Warbler.  From A Comic Natural History of the Human Race.  Philadelphia: Samuel Robinson, 1851.

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Henry L. Stephens. Prints from The Comic Natural History of the Human Race. Philadelphia: Samuel Robinson, 1851. Printed in colors by Rosenthal. Approx. 7 x 6. Very good condition.

A very interesting and amusing series of prints of Philadelphia's most well-known social figures and types in the mid-nineteenth century. Strong, recognizable faces perch comically atop animal bodies, each with a witty title designed to draw a chuckle. Originally issued in eight installments, thirty-nine plates were eventually printed to be bound into the complete collection of politicians and artists, businessmen and paupers.

Designed by Stephens with a sharp wit, the plates were printed by the Rosenthal brothers with considerable innovation. Trained in lithography while in Europe, Max, Louis, Simon, and Morris Rosenthal emigrated from Poland to the United States in the late 1840s, where they worked for famous Philadelphia printer/publisher P.S. Duval. Eventually establishing their own firm, the brothers are known in print history for developing chromolithography in the United States. In these prints, one can see the early expertise they employed in printing with color. All in all, these prints are a wonderful example of early chromolithography, and also have a wonderful whimsical appeal.



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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. Last updated March 27, 2014