The inscription below the picture explains the source of image: “The head after a photograph from life, the Picture by Boyle.” In other words, Lincoln did not sit for this portrait. Instead, Boyle composed the body from a model or perhaps a sitter in another painting, and composed the interior scene. Boyle’s composition was probably in an original drawing or painting. Then the engraver, John Sartain, engraved everything on a copper or steel plate to be printed. He engraved Lincoln’s head based on a photograph of Lincoln, and engraved the rest based on Boyle’s artistic composition referred to above. “Boyle” is almost certainly Ferdinand Thomas Lee Boyle, who is known to have painted a portrait of Lincoln (Groce and Wallace) and numerous other portraits of prominent Americans in the second half of the 19th Century.
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, recently professionally cleaned and deacidified, with minor remaining toning and wear.
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.
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“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).