The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation Before the Cabinet
The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation Before the Cabinet (after Francis B. Carpenter)
25 1/2 x 35 1/4 in. (64.8 x 89.5 cm)
Alexander Hay Ritchie
(Glasgow, 1822 - 1895, New Haven, CT)
Full Title:The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation Before the Cabinet (after Francis B. Carpenter)
Medium and Support:
Gift of Grant Holcomb in memory of Thomas H. Hawks
Location: Not currently on view
By 1862, many people in America and abroad were impatient for President Lincoln to act on the matter of slavery in the Confederate states. Lincoln knew that emancipating the slaves would be a politically controversial decision, yet he also believed that the time was ripe to take a moral stand. On July 22, the President read a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation to his cabinet.
Painter F.B. Carpenter recognized that this historical event was an important subject for a painting. He lived in the White House for six months during 1864 while he worked on the painting. He used authentic details in depicting the room where the draft was read, and used photographs produced by Matthew Brady’s studio as a reference for the figures in the painting. Alexander Ritchie later reproduced Carpenter’s work in the engraving seen on view here.
[Gallery label text, 2004]