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  • The Stages of Man’s Life from the Cradle to the Grave

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    The Stages of Man’s Life from the Cradle to the Grave - Inventory Number:  PRI 175

    Nathaniel Currier opened his lithography shop in New York in 1835 and, in 1857 took in a partner, James Ives, calling themselves 'Currier & Ives'. They published over 7500 different images until the firm closed in 1907.

    Nathaniel Currier publisher a number of hand-colored lithographs that depicted man's weakness, life itself, that appealed to a Calvinist Protestant market in the mid-19th century. In the little vignette beneath the arched title, it reads: "Resist the Devil and he will flee from you!"

    The image is a series of 11 stages of life, each accompanied with a verse connecting the human to an animal. The series starts at birth to age 5, then age 10 and every decade to 100. The figures get stronger and more mature to age 50 and start to go downhill.

    The verses read, decade by decade, figure by figure:

    (5) "Until the first 5 years be spent A child is lamb like innocent."

    (10) "At ten he goat like skips and joys In idle sports and foolish toys."

    (20) "At twenty Love doth swell his veins And heifer like untamed remains."

    (30) "With bull like strength to smite his foes At thirty to the field he goes."

    (40) "At forty naught his courage quails But lion like by force prevails."

    (50) "Strength fails at fifty but with wit Fox like he helps to manage it."

    (60) "At sixty repine fraud and stealthy ways Wolf like he tries his wealth to raise."

    (70) "At seventy news he it hear and tell But dog like loves at home to dwell."

    (80) "The cat keeps house and loves the fire At eighty we the same desire."

    (90) "Weak asses backs were made to bear At ninety we must suffer every where."

    (100) "If we should reach the hundredth year Tho' sick of like the grave we fear."

    These lithographs were printed in large numbers and the coloring varied from impression to impression, this example is elaborately colored.  Housed in the original frame.

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     Inventory Number:  PRI 175