Christian Schussele (1824-1879). “How We Won The Battle / To all who have sorrowed with, or suffered for, our beloved land in her hour of peril, this engraving is respectfully dedicated.”
Philadelphia: Bradley & Co., 1865. 10 1/2 x 15 3/4. Mezzotint and engraving by John Sartain. Full margins. Soft vertical crease left hand margin. Else, very good condition.
After the Civil War, a market developed for prints of the war and its aftermath, many of them with a melancholy theme. In this touching image, a Civil War veteran recounting “How We Won The Battle” to a grouping of children, women, including a grieving widow, and one older man. The absence of other young men is telling, and the soldier’s lost leg and crutches poignant. Besides providing this moving tableau of emotion, the print shows much about the middle class American home: furniture, textiles, a portrait of George Washington, a newspaper on the floor, and an almanac tied to the window ledge. This print was one of a series of sentimental images issued after the Civil War by Bradley & Co. and engraved by John Sartain. Sartain, the “father of mezzotint engraving” in the United States, produced many fine historical scenes and portraits, of which the Bradley & Co. prints are good examples. This image was based on a painting by noted Philadelphia artist Christian Schussele, who was a friend of Sartain.
Christian Schussele worked as a printmaker in steel engraving, chromolithography, and wood engraving in Philadelphia after arriving in America from Germany in the mid-nineteenth century. He was most successful and famous as a painter whose many works were engraved by John Sartain in Philadelphia.