Roger's "The Council of War"
Rogers (1829-1904) was a sculptor once very popular whose "Rogers
Groups" were prized objects in many a Victorian parlor in ordinary
homes across the country. He was extremely popular from c. 1863
to the early 1890's.
Our Group, The Council
of War, showing Lincoln, Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War, and
General Grant. This was patented c. 1868 to 1878. It sold for $25.00
in 1878, and for $20.00 from 1882-1895. This was a high price at
the time, and the Council of War was considered one of his most
popular groups. There were at least 60 copies extant. There were
three versions of this group, listed in the Wallace book as Group
A, B and C. There is a slight difference in each. Our group which
is signed and dated (1868) is type B. This was illustrated in the
Roger's catalogues for 1877, `890, 1892 and 1894-95. There is a
bronze mold for type A given to the New York Historical Society
by Rogers daughter. No known molds have been found for types B and
statuettes were cast in from three to eight pieces, the pieces then
put together and the joints seamed and removed. This was done by
"finishers,"; in 1865 Rogers employed 3 men to cast and
8 to finish, for this work took time. Once cast the statuettes were
dried and finally colored. After trying to color the plaster itself
casting, Rogers finally painted his groupsa non-glossy paint to
resist the weather. About 1864 he decided on a "clay color",
made from burnt umber and zinc oxcide which can be washed with soap
The Epsom Library Rogers
statue was painted green and restored to its original state in 1988.
John Rogers, the People's Sculptor, by David H. Wallace, Wesleyan
University Press, Middletown, Conn., 1967. 326 pgs.
Short Falls, N.H.
September 12, 1942
the Selectmen and the Library Trustees of the Town of Epsom, New
It is a pleasure to
present to the Epsom Town Library a statuary group entitled "The
Council of War" representing President Abraham Lincoln in consultation
witht the Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton and General U.S. Grant.
The base bears the
date 1868 indicating its age. The name of the sculptor does not
appear but experts who have examined it think it may be the work
of John Rogers who was famous in that period for his small groups.
Replicas of this statuary exist but I have never seen or heard of
This piece belonged
to my father and stood in our home in my boyhood.
My father, Charles
Augustus Towle, was born in Epsom in the house now occupied my Mrs.
Herbert Colby and lived here until his graduation from Dartmouth
College. He served in the Civil War in Compant D 15th Regiment New
Hampshire Volunteers with other men from Epsom whose children and
grandchildren now live here and use this library.
If he were here today,
I am sure my father would be as pleased as I am to have you accept
this gift from the treasured heirlooms of his home.
Ralph E. Towle
John Rogers Statuary
Union League of Philadelphia
Rogers Council of War at Ford's Theatre
American Art and National Identity