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collections > permanent collection > sculpture > THOMAS DOW JONES
Thomas Dow Jones
(American, 1811-1881)
Abraham Lincoln, 1861
Bronze, 28” x 21” x 15”
Gift of the Franciscan Friars, St. Francis College, Loretto (74.011)

Commissioned by the Republican leaders of Cincinnati, Thomas Dow Jones’ bust of Abraham Lincoln was modeled from life early in 1861, before Lincoln departed Illinois for his inauguration in Washington, D.C.  Establishing a temporary studio in the St. Nicholas Hotel in Springfield, Jones (with the help of a letter of introduction from Ohio’s governor, Salmon P. Chase) persuaded Lincoln to sit for him for one hour each day.  The resulting bust is typical of the naturalistic strain in American sculpture of the mid-nineteenth century, and is the first to show Lincoln with a beard.  The drapery around the shoulders is probably a fanciful addition, however, and is suggestive of the togas worn by the senators of ancient Rome.

Jones was born in Upstate New York, but during the 1830s he moved to Ohio, where he commenced his career as a stonemason in Cincinnati.  Dating to around 1842, his first portrait busts saw a transition to fine art which would culminate in the sculptor’s election as an Associate of the National Academy of Design in 1853.  In addition to Lincoln, Jones also created busts and medals of such prominent citizens as Salmon P. Chase (as Chief Justice of the United States), Henry Clay, and Daniel Webster.  The artist died in 1881, and is buried in Granville, Ohio.