|On the back of this casting is a small label identifying it’s
origin as the Volk family estate, Hewnoaks in Lovell, Maine.
In 1904 Leonard Volk’s son Stephen Arnold Douglas Volk
who was by this time a highly respected artist in his own right,
purchased a farm and land on Kezar Lake in western Maine.
Converted to provide a studio and space for friends of
Douglas and his wife Marion, the place was named
Hewnoaks. It held numerous important family things to
include relics from Leonard Volk’s old Chicago studio. The
estate was utilized by the family as a retreat for artist friends
and craftspeople. The Maine Historical Society in Portland
counts as part of their collection, a chair from Hewnoaks said
to have been used by Lincoln when Stephen Volk took his
casting. The Volk family held the Lovell, Maine property for
100 years before Hewnoaks was given to the University of
Maine and its content put up for public auction.
|A plaster life mask taken of Lincoln’s face by
Leonard Volk in Chicago in 1860.
|Upon his Chicago visit in the spring of 1860 Lincoln was
asked by sculptor Leonard Volk if he would come to his
studio for the purpose of doing a bust portrait. Lincoln
agreed but we will never know if he realized what was in
store as the artist decided to take a life mask casting as a
lasting reference for his work. The established procedure for
the task was followed. It has been said that Lincoln well
tolerated the process of letting wet plaster dry on his face and
the arduous task of removing the set plaster in one piece but
afterward commented that the experience was anything but
agreeable. Upon viewing the final casting from Volk’s
pattern Lincoln advised that it looked like the animal