The Old Print Shop

Abraham Lincoln. [Copper printing plate.]

  • ARTIST: William Marshall

  • MEDIUM: Engraved copper plate,

    DATE: 1866.

  • EDITION SIZE: Plate size 25 7/8 x 20" (65.8 x 50.8 cm).

  • DESCRIPTION: William Edgar Marshall 1837-1906, New York born painter and engraver. Marshall started his career as an engraver of pocket watch cases. In 1856, encouraged by his mentor, Cyrus Durand, who with his brother, Asher B. Durand, were important early banknote engravers, Marshall made his first engraved portraits - images of the Presidential candidates, James Buchanan and John Charles Fremont. The quality of these two images led to Marshall's appointment as the chief engraver at the American Bank Note Company in 1858. In 1862 he engraved a portrait of George Washington after a painting by Gilbert Stuart. This likeness was described by Edward Everett as "perfection of ... execution." Washington's portrait firmly established Marshall's reputation as a portrait engraver. After Lincoln's death, a distraught Marshall painted a portrait of the martyr-President to be used as a basis for this engraving. When completed in 1866, this portrait won wide acclaim. The President's son, Robert Todd Lincoln, called it an "insightful and skillful rendering." and the French artist, Gustave Dore, declared it "the best engraving ever made by any artist living or dead." In the end, the print was a huge success for Marshall and is today considered by many to be one of the best-engraved likenesses of Lincoln.


  • CONDITION: Good condition. The plate was at one time steel faced and it was removed.

  • REFERENCE: The Lincoln Image Abraham Lincoln and the Popular Print by Holzer, Boritt and Neeley pp. 212-213,