William McKinley Die Proof Engravings on india BEP, G.F.C. Smillie 1896
Two small die proofs, presidential engraved portrait of William McKinley by G.F.C. Smillie. The first is noted “1st proof, 4th Dec 1896″ Size of portrait is approximately 2″ x 2.25″. Card measures approximately 3.25″ x 4″ on India paper. This is a unique progressive proof from 1896. Second proof is the finished portrait on india on card measuring approx 4.5″ x 5.5”. Smillie’s McKinley portrait was widely chastised by the art critics of the day who complained that the engraving did not show any bone structure in the President’s cheek, jaw or nose. It was as if, one critic moaned, the President’s features had been modeled out of a bar of soap. While another admitted that the subject himself did not help the artist any with his flaccid and unseemly features.
Note: these are ORIGINAL nineteenth century die proofs; not reproductions or contemporary prints.