Life Mask of Abraham Lincoln by Clark Mills

Summary

Abraham Lincoln allowed two sculptors to make life masks of his face - first in 1860 and then in 1865. These life masks were reproduced and several sculptors used them as the basis for statues. Clark Mills made this cast of Lincoln's face on February 11, 1865, sixty days before the president was assassinated. In 1867, Mills proposed using this life mask for a Lincoln memorial, but it was never made.

Abraham Lincoln allowed two sculptors to make life masks of his face - first in 1860 and then in 1865. These life masks were reproduced and several sculptors used them as the basis for statues. Clark Mills made this cast of Lincoln's face on February 11, 1865, sixty days before the president was assassinated. In 1867, Mills proposed using this life mask for a Lincoln memorial, but it was never made.

Abraham Lincoln was 56 years old when sculptor Clark Mills made this cast of his face. Mills encased Lincoln's head in a tight cap and then spread plaster over his face, leaving only a small space under his nostrils. When the plaster hardened Mills asked the President to twitch which made the plaster fall away from his skin. The whole procedure lasted less than fifteen minutes. This mask was made in February 1865, sixty days before Lincoln was assassinated.

Detailed Description
Artifact

Life mask

Subject Date

11 February 1865

Creators

Mills, Clark, 1810-1883 

Place of Creation

United States 

Location

Not on exhibit to the public.

Object ID

92.0.65.961

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Material

Plaster of paris

Technique

Casting (Process)

Color

Cream (Color)

Dimensions

Height: 7 in

Width: 7.75 in

Length: 11 in

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