In the Land of Lincoln, all things related to the 16th president are revered. Which is why the is the recipient of what library officials are calling a new “old” portrait of Abraham Lincoln. The public is invited to witness the unveiling of the donated painting at 6:30 p.m. June 21, at the library, 10 S. Batavia Ave.
The portrait was painted by Ellen Sibley Fuller of West Springfield, MA, in 1876. Over the years it was passed down through her family and moved from Massachusetts to Illinois to Texas.
The portrait is a gift from the estate of Virginia M. Douglas who was a Batavia resident from 1957 to 1992. Douglas was Fuller’s granddaughter. The artist’s great-granddaughters, Jan Takle of Pasadena, CA, and Trish Fechner of Carrollton, TX, contacted Library Director George H. Scheetz last fall and offered the portrait as a gift to the library, stating that, “Aunt Ginny loved to spend time at your library and would have wanted this painting to be returned to the Land of Lincoln.”
The painting's appraised value is $6,500. It will be displayed above the fireplace in the Library Leaders Reading Room (fireplace room) facing west. In early 2011, the painting was taken to the Chicago Conservation Center for treatment, which included cleaning, restoration and reframing. During the appraisal process, it was determined that the frame was mostly likely original to the painting but in poor condition. It was decided that the value of the frame did not warrant restoration. The conservation cost of the painting was $2,710 and the new frame cost $540.
After the unveiling and before the Board of Library Trustees meeting at 7 p.m. June 21, Scheetz will point out the library’s recent remodeling projects on the upper level, including the new small study rooms, relocated stained glass, book sale corner sponsored by the Friends of the Batavia Public Library and new display area in the lobby.
The information about the portrait is courtesy of the Batavia Public Library.