The Real Face of John Quincy Adams - Life Mask Reconstruction

The Real Face of John Quincy Adams - Life Mask Reconstruction

Home >> Life Mask Facial Reconstructions of History >>The Real Face of John Quincy Adams - Life Mask Reconstruction

John Quincy Adams……. Old Man Eloquent Comes To Life

6th U. S. President John Quincy is perhaps my favorite president, though most of his accomplishments were after his presidency, particularly against slavery. Adams once reportedly stated, “The four most miserable years of my life were my four years in the presidency.” As a congressman, Adams said that he took delight in the fact that southerners would forever remember him as “the acutest, the astutest, the archest enemy of southern slavery that ever existed.”

It has been suggested that John Quincy Adams had the highest I.Q. of any U.S. president. Dean Simonton, a professor of psychology at UC Davis, estimated his I.Q. score at 175.1 Adams spoke and wrote seven languages by the age of ten. Adams also became a leading force for the promotion of science. As president, he had proposed a national observatory, which did not win much support. Adams became Congress’s primary supporter of the future Smithsonian Institution. He also translated a copy of the New Testament Bible from Greek to English.

Quite a resume for “Old Man Eloquent.”

The Life Mask

John Henri Isaac Browere made the plaster cast of John Quincy Adams while he was President in 1825.

“Washington City, October [28], 1825.

The president requests me to state to Mr. Browere that he will be able to give him two hours tomorrow morning at seven o’clock at his (Mr. Browere’s) rooms on Pennsylvania Avenue. He is so much engaged at present that this is the only time he can conveniently spare for the purpose of your executing his portrait bust from life.

C. F. Adams.”2

John Quincy Adams Life Mask

Life masks of John Quincy Adams Source: Cheryl A. Daniel, with special thanks to Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown N.Y.

J. I. Browere’s “work achieved a stark realism uncommon in that day. His plaster busts showed the age-lined brow, the pock-marked face; his subjects appeared as they were, not as artists generally portrayed them. His life masks were, and remain, the most authentic likenesses of some historic figures who lived in a day before photography provided more easily obtained but similarly uncompromising portraits.”3

John Quincy Adams Comes to Life

John Quincy Adams Face like the daguerreotype

Life mask reconstruction of John Quincy Adams.

“Adams was 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighed about 175 pounds. He had penetrating black eyes.”4

John Quincy Adams Profile View of his life maskk

Profile view of Adams' reconstructed life mask.

At the time of his life mask casting, Adams was 58 years old. The reconstruction shows Adams as he appeared when he was President with brown hair and no sideburns, or mutton chops as they were called in his time.

John Quincy Adams Life Mask Reconstructed

Life mask reconstruction of John Quincy Adams.

John Quincy Adams as President

1828 portrait (detail) of John Quincy Adams by Gilbert Stuart and Thomas Sully. (Harvard University Portrait Collection, Bequest of Ward Nicholas Boylston to Harvard College.) Source: Library of America

An Open Letter and the Real Faces of President John Quincy Adams

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Sources & References:
1 Bridget McCusker “The 13 Presidents with the Highest IQ Scores” Readers Digest.
2,3Charles Henry Hart. “The Project Gutenberg EBook of Browere’s Life Masks of Great Americans” Doubleday & McClure Co., 1899 (Public Domain)
4John Quincy Adams “The Presidential ham”
Original Life Mask Image Source: John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), 1940, J.H. Browere & Roman Bronze Works, bronze, H: 29 x W: 23 x D: 11.5 in., Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, Gift of Stephen C. Clark. N0202.1961. Photograph by Richard Walker Used By Permission

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