Portrait of Abraham Lincoln

Late in 1862, the Union League of Philadelphia commissioned Edward Dalton Marchant to paint Lincoln's portrait for exhibition in Independence Hall as a gesture of support for the president and the Union. Marchant engaged Philadelphia artist John Sartain to engrave the portrait, and mezzotint prints were published by Bradley and Company in 1864 to meet popular demand for the image. The original painting is part of the Union League’s collection, and the Museum owns two copies of the mezzotint print, one an early proof and this one from the standard edition.
The half-length portrait depicts Lincoln seated at a table, holding a quill. A document beneath his arm reads: “Abraham Lincoln, Jan’y 1st, 1863, Will. H. Seward.” It references the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, which took effect on that date. Part of a large statue is shown at the upper right, a classical figure of Liberty with a broken chain at her feet, another reference to the emancipation of the slaves.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
date made
Lincoln, Abraham
original artist
Marchant, Edward Dalton
graphic artist
Sartain, John
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
overall: 43.5 cm x 34 cm; 17 1/8 in x 13 3/8 in
image: 33 cm x 25.5 cm; 13 in x 10 1/16 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Abraham Lincoln
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Graphic Arts
Abraham Lincoln
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Holzer, Harold; Boritt, Gabor S., and Neely, Mark E., Jr.. The Lincoln Image: Abraham Lincoln and the Popular Print

Visitor Comments

9/15/2016 11:37:52 AM
RA Rowland
We have a copy of the Sartain print that has been in the family over 90 years. How many Sartain's were made of this painting?
10/13/2016 10:13:22 AM
Helena Wright
Dear R A Rowland, We wish we knew how many prints were made of this image--and many others. It was not the practice to limit editions or include an edition statement on prints at this time. The concept of the "limited edition" is a more modern idea and generally relates to original fine art prints. John Sartain was a popular and prolific engraver whose work was widely appreciated over his long life.
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