Portrait of Abraham Lincoln
Engraving after John Sartain, c. 1864
Lincoln Lincoln Lincoln
Boyle (after)
John Sartain (1808-1897) (engraver)
Abraham Lincoln, President of the
United States
R.R. Landon, 88 Lake Street,
Chicago, Illinois: c. 1864
Black and white engraving or mezzotint
Proof impression
24.75 x 17.5 inches, overall
21 x 15 inches, image

Portrait of Abraham Lincoln seated in front of a draped table on which sits a writing desk, a bust, an oil lamp and a newspaper.  In the corner behind him is a rolled map and on the floor is another labeled “Campaign of 1864.” Beside that map is a globe on a rococo cast iron stand that resembles globes made in that period by Merriam and Moore of Troy, New York.

The inscription below the picture explains the source of image:  “The head after a photograph from life, the Picture by Boyle.”  In other words, Boyle composed the body and the background and Sartain based the portrait likeness from a photograph.  “Boyle” was possibly Ferdinand Thomas Lee Boyle, who is known to have painted a portrait of Lincoln (Groce and Wallace).

John Sartain was a painter in oil and watercolor, engraver, publisher and arts administrator who introduced pictorial illustration into American periodicals and is considered the father of mezzotint engraving in the United States. He was born in London and emigrated to Philadelphia in 1830, where he became part of an artistic and literary circle that included Thomas Eakins, Mary Cassatt and Edgar Allen Poe.  He is known for his mezzotint portraits of important historical figures such as John Sutter, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, engraving after some of the most prominent artists of his day, including Benjamin West, George Caleb Bingham and Thomas Sully.  He also contributed illustrations to periodicals such as Gentleman’s Magazine, Graham’s Magazine and Godey’s Lady’s Magazine, and the magazine he founded in 1849, Sartain's Union Magazine of Literature and Art and about 1,500 illustrations for gift books published between 1830 and 1865.  Sartain’s administrative achievements included serving as the secretary of the new Pennsylvania Academy at its founding and as director of the art department of the 1876 International Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Sartain is the subject of the book Philadelphia's Cultural Landscape. The Sartain Family Legacy (Katharine Martinez and Page Talbott, eds.  Philadelphia, 2000).  Sartain’s sons, daughter and granddaughter were also artists, most notably William Sartain (1843-1924).  Sartain, his daughter and granddaughter were also associated with the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, later the Moore College of Art.

Condition: Generally very good with the usual light overall toning, wear soiling, soft creases.  Faint matburn.


Aldrich, Brian.  “John Sartain.”  Poe Forward.  http://www.poeforward.com/plutomenagerie/sartain/sartain.htm (13 August 2003).

Groce, George C. and Wallace, David H.  The New-York Historical Society’s Dictionary of Artists in America 1564-1860.  New Haven: Yale University Press, 1969.  p. 73.

“Henry Clay.” The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th Ed.  New York: Columbia University Press: 2001.  Bartleby.com  http://www.bartleby.com/65/cl/Clay-Hen.html (8 March 2005).

"John Sartain." 1911 Online Encyclopedia. 2003, 2004.  LoveToKnow. http://98.1911encyclopedia.org/S/SA/SARTAIN_JOHN.htm (8 March 2005).

“John Sartain.” Appleton’s Encyclopedia, Virtualogy.com.  2000.  http://www.virtualology.com/johnsartain (13 August 2003).

“John Sartain.” The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th Ed.  New York: Columbia University Press: 2002.  Bartleby.com.http://www.bartleby.com/65/sa/Sartain.html (13 August 2003).

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