The Museum Collection
Edgar Allan Poe Engraving by John Sartain
Description:Edgar Allan Poe's friend John Sartain produced this engraving of Poe shortly after the author's death for inclusion in the posthumously released collection of Poe's works edited by Rufus Griswold in 1850-1856. The image is derived from a ca.1846 oil painting of Poe by Samuel Osgood.
This appears to be an early state of the engraving because the rectangular gray border enclosing the portrait has not yet been added. Also, the final image shows the dark tone of the coat coming further down to cover what is still a linear depiction of the left arm. This early stage of the printmaking process gives us insight into Sartain's working process, which began with a line engraving and continued through a series of mezzotint additions to add depth and shadow.
The uneven right and bottom edges of the paper show that it was printed on a thick rag paper, made from cotton.
The print was given to the Poe Museum by Edith Ragland, the teacher and artist who sculpted the Poe Museum's model of Poe's Richmond.
A letter by the artist John Sartain concerning a visit from Edgar Poe can also be found in the Poe Museum's collection database.