American, born England, 1812 - 1876
"Fanny" Palmer is best known for her illustrations of American life for Currier and Ives. Born in England, she was educated in London. In the early 1840s, she and her husband immigrated to the United States, settling in New York City.
Palmer had studied art and soon found work as an illustrator specializing in lithography. By 1849 she was working for Nathaniel Currier. During the 1850s, she produced a number of folios illustrating the American landscape and rural life. When James M. Ives joined Currier's firm in 1857, she collaborated with him on a number of views. During the 1860s Palmer specialized in still life images.
While working for Currier and Ives, Palmer produced more than two hundred lithographs, making the initial designs and drawings on the lithographic stones. Frequently reproduced, her images were popular with the American public. In addition to folios, her compositions were used as images for calendars, greeting cards, and advertisements. Despite the widespread recognition of her work, Palmer died in obscurity.
[This is an excerpt from the interactive companion program to the videodisc American Art from the National Gallery of Art. Produced by the Department of Education Resources, this teaching resource is one of the Gallery's free-loan educational programs.]