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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Carpenter, Francis B. 'Francis B. Carpenter to William H. Herndon' in 'Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements About Abraham Lincoln' . Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998. [format: book], [genre: letter]. Permission: University of Illinois Press
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=herndon494b.html


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-- 496 --

I send you a copy of the book, with my "autograph" in the frontispiece [3]. I am much mortified that I should have neglected this so long. For six weeks or two months after its publication however I was absent in the country, and since my return have been very busy, engaged with other matters.

You ask if my "study" portrait of Lincoln is being engraved?" — I am happy to say that it is, and nearly completed. — The engraver Mr Halpin [4] (the best engraver in the style Known as stipple and line, in this country) has had the original portrait in his hands for the last eighteen months and has spared no pains to reproduce it faithfully As a piece of engraving it is exquisite. The original portrait was painted by itself, before I commenced my large painting It was pronounced by Mr Lincoln himself at the conclusion of one of the sittings, the best ever made of him. I think these were his words, "I feel that there is more of me in this portrait than in any representation, ever made"

It is sad, thoughtful, care-worn, the far-away expression in those eyes which was so often seen by those who were near to him, and loved him. I aimed to make it the standard portrait, — throwing enough of the ideal into the expression to satisfy those who should come after us. Whether I succeeded or not or whether the engraver has faithfully translated my meaning is for others to say — Meanwhile Marshalls portrait [5] — (made up from photographs,) has come out, though he returned from Europe — painted and engraved his picture some time after Mr Halpin commenced upon mine. — Marshall's is the more imposing perhaps the work being largely on the back-ground, while Halpin's is almost wholly upon the head. —

I shall next week send you a proof impression of this portrait. Do not make up your mind about it until after several days study, of it upon your wall Then write me what you think of it. — Of course I am sensitive as to its reception by the public. — I have aimed to represent the man in his most solemn moments — thoughtful, dignified, intently considering the problems of the age. — It is Lincoln the Emancipator. —

I hope it will strike you pleasantly, but I much prefer that it shall grow upon you by study. — However it must take its chances.

Pardon the freedom with which I have written to you. It seems almost as if you were a friend of years. Should you come to New York be sure nothing would give me more pleasure than to welcome you to my little house at "96 West 45th St."

Faithfully & truly yours
F. B. Carpenter

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2841 — 44

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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Carpenter, Francis B. 'Francis B. Carpenter to William H. Herndon' in 'Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements About Abraham Lincoln' . Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998. [format: book], [genre: letter]. Permission: University of Illinois Press
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=herndon494b.html
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