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The Image of Thomas Jefferson in the Public Eye

Portraits for the People, 1800–1809
Noble E. Cunningham, Jr.
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An important contribtion to iconographic studies of the presidency, this book employs an innovative approach. Sixty engraving, medal and silhousettes illustrate the images of Thomas Jefferson that were availabel to the common man. Without television, photography, or coins that pictured the head of state, the majority of American's in Jefferson's day knew his likeness mainly from engraved prints, many of questionable artistic merit. These contemporary images have never been collected in a single source and many have never been reproduced. Source, artist, and date are given for each. They reflect the public's fascination with the man and the office and they display the state of the arts in a young nation. For the most part they derive from artistic treasures we are familiar with today, especiallly the Houdon bust and the penetrating portraits by Rembrandy Peale and Gilbert Stuart. The likeness some done by such leading engravers as Cornelius Tiebout and David Edwin appeared as separate prints, in books and periodicals and sometimes as transfers on pieces of Liverpool pottery. Among the author's major contributions are important discoveries altering accepted conclusions regarding stuart's first life portrait of Jefferson.