During the last half of the nineteenth century, America's favorite pictorial storytellers were Currier and Ives, printmakers extraordinary. Hundreds of thousands of Currier and Ives's hand-colored engravings made their way onto the walls of homes across the country. From pastoral America to bustling scenes of city life, horse racing, fire fighting - you name it - Nathaniel Currier and James Merrit Ives pictured it. Numerous previous books have surveyed the charming Currier and Ives repertoire, which numbers some seven thousand subjects. Published here for the first time, however, are more than seventy-five of the 204 prints that Currier and Ives created especially to appeal to Irish-Americans. At the time these pictures were published many who bought them were newly arrived in the United States, victims of the terrible famines and farm evictions in Ireland in the 1840s and 1850s. As this new population grew and its affluence increased, these colorful Currier and Ives prints served well as reminders of home, the Ireland left behind. The prints show the Irish landscape, key moments in Irish history, portraits of men and women of importance, and episodes of daily life. All these fascinating and handsome subjects of Irish-American interest and more are included in the book. Seventy-seven of them are reproduced in color. Discovered and selected by author Kevin O'Rourke, they are accompanied by his lively text, which details the historical background for all the scenes and offers brief biographies of the individuals portrayed. The book also includes a brief biography of the firm of Currier and Ives, notes on collecting Currier and Ives prints, a directory of dealers, and a complete listing of the 204 known Irish-American subjects.
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