Thursday, August 25, 2011

Capturing A Man's Character

This day in 1860, for a "fifth" and final time, Republican presidential candidate Lincoln poses for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania artist John H. Brown, who is in Springfield, Illinois to paint "on ivory," Lincoln's "miniature likeness." Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice and Lincoln ally John M. Read commissioned the painting because he was "disgusted with the horrible caricatures of Mr. Lincoln which he had seen." Brown recalled, "[Lincoln's] true character only shines out when in an animated conversation, or when telling an amusing tale, of which he is very fond."

John Henry Brown (1818–1891)
Watercolor on ivory, 1860
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Conserved with funds from the Smithsonian Women’s Committee

Stop by the Lincoln Heriatge Museum today to see other renderings of President Abraham Lincoln.

Fact of the day sources
  • R. Gerald McMurtry, Beardless Portraits of Abraham Lincoln Painted from Life (Fort Wayne, IN: Allen County Historical Society, 1962), 26-35
  • Harold Holzer, Gabor S. Boritt, and Mark E. Neely, Jr., The Lincoln Image: Abraham Lincoln and the Popular Print (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1984), 58, 61
  • Michael Burlingame, With Lincoln in the White House: Letters, Memoranda, and Other Writings of John G. Nicolay, 1860-1865 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2000), 4-5
  • Justin G. Turner and Linda Levitt Turner, Mary Todd Lincoln: Her Life and Letters (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1972), 65
  • abraham lincoln to john m. read, 27 August 1860, CW, 4:102.

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