Lithographs by Currier and Ives are ubiquitous in antique stores, estate auctions and Victorian homes. Billing itself as “the Grand Central Depot for Cheap and Popular prints,” the firm published more than 7,500 lithographs from 1835 to 1907, touching on every phase of American life. Employing or copying the work of fine artists, they chose subjects with mass-market appeal, reflecting the sentiments, values, and aspirations of ordinary Americans.
This print is titled and captioned: “The Great International University Boat Race on the River Thames (England) from Putney to Mortlake, 4 Miles 2 Furlongs, August 27th 1869 / Between the Picked Crews of the Harvard (American) and Oxford (English) Universities / Won by the Oxfords by a length and a half (or a half length clear water) Time 22 Min 20 8/10 Sec. The word ‘Go’ was given at 14 minutes past five o’clock PM the Harvards on the outside took the lead which they kept 2 1/2 miles to ‘Chiswick Eyot’ when they got into the eddy, and were passed by the Oxford and beaten at the finish by half a length clear water.”