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After: Thomas Doughty (American, 1793-1856)

Lithographer: Childs & Inman Press (active Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1830-1833)

Date: 1830
Medium: Lithograph, with colors
Overall: 7 × 9in. (17.8 × 22.9cm)
Signed: Lower left: "From Nature & on Stone by T. Doughty." Lower right: "From Childs & Inman, F.T."
Inscribed: Bottom center: "Rail"
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object number: 73.174
Label Text
This hand-colored lithograph of a rail, a small marsh bird with long toes and stubby wings, appeared as plate 18 in Doughty’s Cabinet of Natural History and American Rural Sports, a book he edited with his brother between 1830 and 1832. It contained articles on hunting as well as descriptions of indigenous North American birds, animals, and plants. The illustrations that accompanied these articles are some of the finest examples of early American hand-colored lithography. Doughty depicted the rail in profile so that its characteristic features are conspicuously apparent. The bird, drawn by Doughty “from Nature,” is shown in its natural habitat with a hunter off to the right, an allusion to the bird’s popularity among sportsmen. An inscription in the lower right margin of the lithograph, “from Childs & Inmans [sic.] P,” indicates that it was printed by a company that Cephas G. Childs (1793-1871) and the portrait painter Henry Inman (1801-48) ran in Philadelphia from 1830 to 1833.