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Celebrity's Picture: Using Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Portraits to Observe Historic Changes

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Engraving of Longfellow after Thomas Badger, ca. 1829

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Engraving of Longfellow after Thomas Badger, ca. 1829 / Maine Historical Society

Engravers and lithographers worked from paintings or drawings to produce and circulate multiple copies of an image before photography became a viable process around 1839.

Painters in turn often copied from prints for many reasons, not least to learn new fashions, improve their craft, or simply make a living.

Typically, the hard lines of Wilcox's engraving clarify the young professor's academic robes and features, but they also generalize, reducing idiosyncrasies that attest to an artist's first-hand observation of the subject. Notably, too, the printmaker fails to credit Badger as the original source.

<a href="http://www.hwlongfellow.org/pdf/Whitmore_lessonplan3.pdf">Commercial Illustrations Lesson Plan</a>


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