The cartoon (top left) is by Allyn Cox & Clifford Young, ca 1973
This cartoon was the working sketch for Cox’s mural “NEW DOME SYMBOLIZES UNION – 1863”, located in the “The Hall of Capitols”, United States Capitol
(north-south corridor, east side of the House wing ). This collection describes the creation and restoration of "The Hall of Capitols" (top right).
Artist Allyn Cox gave the cartoon for "Lincoln and the Dome" to Congressman Fred Schwengel, President of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society, shortly after he completed the mural in 1974, and
Schwengel later included it with the books and art he began donating to Pickler Memorial Library in 1976.
Unfortunately, during its sojourn from the Capitol to Pickler, the cartoon received some water damage and its condition continued to deteriorate through the years it was in storage here. Some serious conservation work had to be done before it could be placed on exhibit. In 1998, with the support of Mrs Ethel Schwengel and her family, the Library undertook the conservation project. Heugh-Edmondson Conservation Services of Kansas City, MO, the firm selected for the work, completed the restoration in February 2000.
The drawing is executed in litho crayon or grease pencil, gouache & graphite on cream colored paper. It is in three vertical panels mounted on a medium
weight, tightly woven canvas to form one complete drawing. Overall size is approximately 203.2 x 203.5 cm (80 x 80 1/2 inches).
When conservator Tom Edmondson examined the cartoon he found the canvas backing to be soiled, wrinkled, water stained and severely damaged by mold along the right side and across the top. A large area was completely gone at the top left. The paper, mounted to the canvas with what appeared to be a PVA emulsion adhesive, was extensively cockled and creased. It was badly soiled as well as yellowed and discolored from its own acid content and stained from the adhesive.
There were numerous cracks, breaks and tears through the design area and along the edges, including a large 12 ½ tear from the bottom up into the design which had been mended with masking tape. There were also tack and pinholes throughout -- a result of pouncing, the process of transferring the sketch to the wall's surface by applying powdered charcoal through perforations.
The conservators went through a lengthy step-by-step process to correct these defects. They had to:
The Cox Mural in the Capitol: In the late 1960s, the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the United States Capitol Historical Society jointly sponsored a project to foster a greater awareness and appreciation of our nation’s past by
recording the American story on the walls of the United States Capitol. Allyn Cox, who had completed the Rotunda friezes begun by Constantino Brumidi in the 19th Century, was commissioned for the project.
Planning for the House wing murals began during the winter of 1969-70. After deciding to place them on the vaulted ceilings, Cox completed scale drawings of the proposed murals, making sure they were historically accurate and in harmony with the building’s architecture. He began the actual work on the ceilings in February 1973, with the “Hall of Capitols” series. Aided by Clifford Young, who helped work up the cartoons (preparatory drawings), he completed the series in July 1974.
This first phase of the project, funded by the U.S. Capitol Historical Society, tells the story of the Capitol and includes paintings of the 16 buildings in which Congress and its predecessors have met since 1754. Other panels contain scenes set in or around the halls of Congress and portraits of persons associated with the Capitol.
“New Dome Symbolizes Union”: One of the murals in the Hall of Capitols depicts Capitol Architect Thomas U. Walters showing his plans for the building’s new dome to President Abraham Lincoln. Cox used an 1863 photo of the dome under construction (attributed to famed Civil War photographer Matthew Brady) as the basis for the scene.
Construction on the dome, authorized by Congress in 1855, was interrupted by the Civil War, but began again in 1862 under Lincoln’s order that construction be continued as “a sign we intend the Union shall go on”. The last section of the “Freedom” statue atop the dome was put in place on December 2, 1863, at which time the U.S. flag was unfurled and a 35-gun salute (one for each state, north and south) was fired.