22 Beautiful Paintings of 19th-Century American Life

At one time, especially between 1815 and 1915, the horse and buggy was the primary mode of short-distance transportation in America.

Horsemanship was largely confined to wealthy landowners, western pioneers, and the military.

But as long as there were rudimentary roadways, the low skill requirement of horse and buggy gave freedom of mobility to thousands more.

A horse and buggy circa 1910
A horse and buggy circa 1910

Until Henry Ford made automobiles affordable for the working class, horse-drawn buggies were the most common means of getting around towns and surrounding countryside.

Edward Lamson Henry (1841 – 1919) was an American painter who studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He moved to Paris at the age of 19 — a time of Claude Monet, Pierre-August Renoir, and Alfred Sisley.

His great attention to detail and membership of the New York Historical Society won him admiration from contemporaries who viewed his work as authentic historical reconstructions.

Who better to show us American life in the time of the horse and buggy than Edward Lamson Henry. To enhance the atmosphere of these beautiful paintings, optionally play the music.

The Conversation by Edward Lamson Henry - 1882
The Conversation by Edward Lamson Henry – 1882

Testing His Age by Edward Lamson Henry - 1891
Testing His Age by Edward Lamson Henry – 1891
Carriage Ride by Edward Lamson Henry - 1886
Carriage Ride by Edward Lamson Henry – 1886
Portrait of Mrs. Lydig and Her Daughter by Edward Lamson Henry - 1887-1891
Portrait of Mrs. Lydig and Her Daughter by Edward Lamson Henry – 1887-1891
Stopping for a Chat by Edward Lamson Henry - 1889
Stopping for a Chat by Edward Lamson Henry – 1889
The Latest Village Scandal by Edward Lamson Henry - 1885
The Latest Village Scandal by Edward Lamson Henry – 1885
Horse and Buggy on Main Street by Edward Lamson Henry - 1889
Horse and Buggy on Main Street by Edward Lamson Henry – 1889
A Moment of Peril by Edward Lamson Henry - 1890
A Moment of Peril by Edward Lamson Henry – 1890
A Summer Day by Edward Lamson Henry - 1890
A Summer Day by Edward Lamson Henry – 1890
Later Afternoon on the Old Delaware and Hudson Canal, at Port Ben, Ulster County, New York by Edward Lamson Henry - circa 1894
Later Afternoon on the Old Delaware and Hudson Canal, at Port Ben, Ulster County, New York by Edward Lamson Henry – circa 1894
An Informal Call by Edward Lamson Henry - 1895
An Informal Call by Edward Lamson Henry – 1895
Waiting for the Ferry, Shelter Island, New York by Edward Lamson Henry - 1895
Waiting for the Ferry, Shelter Island, New York by Edward Lamson Henry – 1895
At the Watering Trough by Edward Lamson Henry - 1900
At the Watering Trough by Edward Lamson Henry – 1900
One Sunday Afternoon by Edward Lamson Henry - 1902
One Sunday Afternoon by Edward Lamson Henry – 1902
'What's the News' by Edward Lamson Henry - 1909
‘What’s the News’ by Edward Lamson Henry – 1909
Unexpected Visitors by Edward Lamson Henry - 1909
Unexpected Visitors by Edward Lamson Henry – 1909
St. Mark's in the Bowery in the Early Forties by Edward Lamson Henry - 1917
St. Mark’s in the Bowery in the Early Forties by Edward Lamson Henry – 1917
Coming Home by Edward Lamson Henry
Coming Home by Edward Lamson Henry
Horse and Buggy by Edward Lamson Henry
Horse and Buggy by Edward Lamson Henry
The Village Street by Edward Lamson Henry
The Village Street by Edward Lamson Henry
Station on the Morris and Essex Railroad by Edward Lamson Henry - 1864
Station on the Morris and Essex Railroad by Edward Lamson Henry – 1864
The Camden and Amboy Railroad with the Engine 'Planet' in 1834 by Edward Lamson Henry - 1904
The Camden and Amboy Railroad with the Engine ‘Planet’ in 1834 by Edward Lamson Henry – 1904

Whether a quaint novelty ride around Central Park or a touch of Cinderella magic to a storybook wedding, we can still experience the joys of a horse and buggy ride today.

Bride in a white dress descends from an open horse-drawn carriage decorated with ribbons at a wedding in Minnesota. Credit Jonathunder
Bride in a white dress descends from an open horse-drawn carriage decorated with ribbons at a wedding in Minnesota. Credit Jonathunder
Central Park 'Horse & Buggy'. Credit - David Ohmer, flickr.
Central Park ‘Horse & Buggy’. Credit – David Ohmer, flickr.

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David James

David James

I'm an Englishman in Boston. History is a joy—it binds us, it connects us, it guides us. I'm interested in making history more accessible and more fun. Join me on this fantastic voyage through time.