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Lincoln Mask - Item #663

$ 260.00



12 Inches High x 7 Inches Wide x 7 Inches Deep

This life-cast of Abraham Lincoln was created in 1860. Chicago-based sculptor Leonard Volk (1828-1895) first asked Lincoln to sit for him in 1858 when they met during Lincoln's senatorial campaign against Stephen Douglas. Douglas was the cousin of Volk's wife who also supported Volk's travel to Rome for two years of study. Lincoln, who lost the election, was not able to meet with Volk until two years later when he was acting as a lawyer in Chicago for a court case. Instead of requiring numerous sittings of Lincoln, the sculptor started by making a life-mask which he would use to create a bust. He would later sculpt other versions of the bust as well, including Item #44. According to Volk's recounting of his encounters with Lincoln, Lincoln declared the bust a picture of "the animal himself." Volk's mask of Lincoln was used by other artists for reference as well. The mask, as well as the one created by Clark Mills of Lincoln in 1865, has given us an unmistakable record of the 16th president's face. The rectangular backing of the cast is inscribed with "LINCOLN IN 1860," "MASK," and another but illegible word.


Artist: Leonard Volk

Museum: The National Museum of American History

Time Period: Modern- 1860

1911 Catalog ID # - 13526



"Abraham Lincoln." Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, 

Byrd, Cecil K. "Some Notes on Thomas D. Jones, Sculptor of Lincoln." The Indiana University Bookman, no. 2, November 1957, pp. 27-28. IUScholarWorks,

"Casts of Abraham Lincoln's Face and Hands." Smithsonian/ The National Museum of American History,

"Leonard Volk." Wikipedia,

"Life Mask of Abraham Lincoln." The Metropolitan Museum of Art,

Volk, Leonard W. "The Lincoln Life-Mask and How it Was Made." Century Magazine, 1881. Internet Archive,