In his monograph Six Months at the White House Francis Bicknell Carpenter explained that in February of 1864, a year after Abraham Lincoln delivered his Emancipation Proclamation, he sought out the President in order to "paint a picture which should commemorate this new epoch in the history of Liberty." For Carpenter, it "was a dream which took form and shape in my mind towards the close of the year 1863." By the summer of 1864, after living six months with the President, the artist had finished his painting. It was temporarily displayed in the East Room of the White House for the general public. Today, the painting can be seen in the U.S. Capitol.
From May to September of 1901, George F.C. Smillie engraved for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing a rendition of Carpenters painting. To date no specific job has been identified with Smillies work, but it is possible that he prepared this small piece so that it would be on hand if needed.
Clockwise from upper left to right:
- Reproduction of Daguerreotype, Portrait of Francis Bicknell Carpenter, circa 1850-1860, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Image LC-USZ62-110148
- Proof, Emancipation Proclamation, 1944 Proof, The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation
- Before the Cabinet, Engraver: George F. C. Smillie, 1901