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Common Deer

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Common Deer

After: Thomas Doughty (American, 1793-1856)

Artist: John Sartain (English, 1808-1897; active United States, after 1830)

Date: 1830
Medium: Engraving with colors
Overall: 8 13/16 × 11 1/16in. (22.4 × 28.1cm)
Image: 7 × 8 7/8in. (17.8 × 22.5cm)
Signed: Lower left: "Doughty pinx." Lower right: "Sartain sc."
Inscribed: Bottom center: "Common Deer"
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object number: 86.2.4
Label Text
This print was originally published in the Cabinet of Natural History and American Rural Sports, a book Doughty edited with his brother between 1830 and 1832. It contains 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.

This particular print is a notable exception to the lithographic images that Doughty included in this book because it is an engraving. An inscription in the lower left margin, “Doughty pinx” indicates that he made the original image upon which this print was based. The inscription at the lower right, “Sartain sc” indicates that Doughty’s image was then engraved by John Sartain (1808-1897), the founder of the famous Sartain family of engravers. This print is one of the earliest that the English-born Sartain made in America.

It has the added distinction of being the first image that Doughty issued in his publication. Each impression that was printed was subsequently hand colored. Comparison of the two impressions of this print that are in the Museum’s collection reveal the variations in color that inevitably resulted from this hand-coloring process. This is particularly noticeable in the coloring of the leaves in the lower left and upper right corners of the prints, and in the markings on the back of the young deer in the lower right foreground. The amount of labor that was required to make an engraving, and the relatively limited number of images this process could successfully produce, may have prompted Doughty to switch to lithography, which was a more robust reproductive process and could produce a large number of images relatively cheaply.

Paul D. Schweizer