Skip to main content
Abraham Lincoln
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Object number
Exhibition Label
Born Hardin County, Kentucky
Abraham Lincoln was becoming a national celebrity during the summer of 1860, but some worried that his appearance might cost him votes. Philadelphia supporter John M. Read hired John Henry Brown to make a good, small portrait that would serve as the basis for a printed campaign image. Brown had five sittings with the candidate but also based the image on several ambrotypes taken in Illinois. Lincoln’s secretary thought the result was “so well executed that when magnified to life size one cannot discover any defects of brush marks on it at all.”
Nacido en el condado de Hardin, Kentucky
Abraham Lincoln estaba en vías de convertirse en celebridad en el verano de 1860, pero algunos temían que su apariencia podría costarle votos. John M. Read, un partidario suyo de Filadelfia, contrató a John Henry Brown para que le hiciera un buen retrato de pequeño formato que pudiera utilizarse como imagen de campaña. Brown tuvo cinco sesiones con el candidato, pero también basó la imagen en varios ambrotipos tomados en Illinois. El secretario de Lincoln encontró el resultado “tan bien ejecutado que al ampliarlo a tamaño natural no se nota ningún defecto de pinceladas”.
Commissioned by Judge John M. Read; Mary Todd Lincoln [Mrs. Abraham Lincoln]; son Robert Todd Lincoln; his daughter Mary Lincoln Isham; her son Lincoln Isham [d. 1971]; his estate; (Maury A. Bromsen, Boston); purchased 1975 NPG
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution Conserved with funds from the Smithsonian Women's Committee
John Henry Brown, 1818 - 1891
Abraham Lincoln, 12 Feb 1809 - 15 Apr 1865
United States\Illinois\Sangamon\Springfield
Watercolor on ivory
Frame (Verified): 14.3 x 11.4 x 1.1cm (5 5/8 x 4 1/2 x 7/16")
Ivory: 14 × 11.4cm (5 1/2 × 4 1/2")
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery