E.C. Middleton portrait of Abraham Lincoln


Elijah C. Middleton. “Abraham Lincoln.” Cincinnati: E.C. Middleton, 1864. Chromolithograph. 16 5/8 x 13 1/8 (oval). Paper mounted on canvas, as issued. With original stamp visible on verso. In original frame. Holzer, Borritt, Neely: 148.

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A fine, original antique print of Abraham Lincoln by Elijah C. Middleton. ¬†Middleton is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of chromolithography in America. Establishing his engraving firm in Cincinnati at mid-nineteenth-century, Middleton’s business benefited from the city’s prime location along routes of westward migration. As the city grew, so did a market for printed material – including chromolithographs. Middleton and his partner, W.R. Wallace, ventured from engraving into chromolithography and produced the oldest surviving chromolithograph from Cincinnati. Their partnership became the basis for chromo-publishing giant Strobridge & Company, which competed with Ehrgott & Forbriger for prominence in the Cincinnati and Midwestern print markets.

Desiring an accurate representation of President Lincoln, Middleton actually solicited the his advice, sending a proof copy and receiving in return a letter from Lincoln with both compliment and critique. The resulting portrait is the only instance in which Lincoln is known to have advised the artist.