Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mrs. Lincoln, I Presume? Well, as It Turns Out ...

Left, the altered portrait depicting Mrs. Lincoln; right, the restored image, an unknown woman without a Lincoln brooch. Photographs from Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
For 32 years, a portrait of a serene Mary Todd Lincoln hung in the governor’s mansion in Springfield, Ill., signed by Francis Bicknell Carpenter, a celebrated painter who lived at the White House for six months in 1864.

As the conservator Barry Bauman removed paint added to the portrait advertised as being that of Mary Todd Lincoln, a brooch depicting Abraham Lincoln disappeared.

The story behind the picture was compelling: Mrs. Lincoln had Mr. Carpenter secretly paint her portrait as a surprise for the president, but he was assassinated before she had a chance to present it to him.

Now it turns out that both the portrait and the touching tale accompanying it are false.
Read the full New York Times article here.
Published: February 11, 2012

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