Abraham Lincoln’s Favorite Portrait

Eastman House displays Abraham Lincoln’s favorite image, featuring museum’s conservation of shattered glass plate

Jan. 20, 2009

“This interpositive is the closest you will ever get to ‘seeing’ Lincoln

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – A conserved glass-plate image of Abraham Lincoln from 1860 is being presented to the public for the first time – and is not only Lincoln’s personal favorite portrait but it is the closest one will get to “seeing” Lincoln. In honor of the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth, a display titled “Lincoln Portrait: Conservation of a National Treasure” will go on view beginning Feb. 1 at George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film.

The museum is showcasing its two-year conservation treatment of a partially shattered glass-plate interpositive of Lincoln. The image, depicting a “handsome” and beardless Lincoln, was taken when he was beginning his presidential run. It is celebrated as one of the best portraits made of the 16th president, and he was in agreement. “That looks better and expresses me better than any I have ever seen; if it pleases the people I am satisfied,” Lincoln said, in response to the portrait.”

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