Model of the Lincoln Memorial Statue in Daniel Chester French’s Studio

We thought this was a cool shot. Daniel Chester French is in his studio working on a bust of Ambrose Swasey, an industrialist born in 1846. Oh, by the way, a model of the statue of Lincoln that would eventually end up in the Lincoln Memorial is in the background. French completed Lincoln’s statue in 1920, and the Memorial opened in 1922.

Picture of Daniel Chester French in his studio with Lincoln Memorial statue in the background
Sculptor Daniel Chester French is shown in his studio working on a bust of industrialist Ambrose Swaysey, with a model of French’s statue for the Lincoln Memorial in the background. (Daniel Chester French family papers)

Here is a picture of French’s work, now sitting in the Lincoln Memorial.

The Lincoln Memorial Statue
The Lincoln Memorial Statue

Check out this recent post of Lincoln’s statue overlooking the “I Have a Dream Speech”.

Both photos from the Library of Congress.

About Sam E.

Sam is a new contributor to Ghosts of DC and Ghosts of Baltimore. He has been a long time fan of the website. As someone who can lose hours looking at old pictures and reading about DC history, the blog is a perfect outlet for him to explore the history of the District.

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  • Audrey Burtrum-Stanley

    French was probably the greatest American sculptor, (now, followed by the late-Frederick Hart.) Therefore, your photo is important and appreciated. Thank you for showcasing it here.
    Many visitors touring the Lincoln Memorial never grasp the vast amount of symbolism incorporated in the design. The statue’s hands are posed to form the initials ‘A’ and ‘L’ (for Abe Lincoln). Around the crest of the building are carved the state names that were joined to form the U.S.A. during his era. (You can also read some of these names on the backside of the mid-20th Century $5.00 bill engraving!) Almost all overlook the elegant column walkways along the sides – perfect photo spots as in the distance is the elongated, slender Washington Monument. (Try a picture posed there!) The most profound overlooked detail is/are the steps. Count them the next time you stride up to the main floor. They match the same number of years as Lincoln’s age when his life ended.