A glass plate portrait of Abraham Lincoln – thought have been lost forever – has gone on show in America to mark 200 years today since his birth.

The original portrait, captured for Lincoln’s presidential campaign by Alexander Hesler on 3 June 1860, was accidentally shattered. It is now housed in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington.

The 8x10in clone (pictured) is believed to be the only ‘interpositive’ version created from the original wet-plate collodion negative.

Also damaged, it was handed to Kodak experts for restoration by an unnamed collector in 2006.

Following a two-year restoration project the silver gelatin copy has now gone on display for the first time, at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography & Film in Rochester.

Lincoln, the 16th US President, was assassinated at a Washington theatre on 14 April 1865, Good Friday.

The image depicts a ‘beardless’ Lincoln at the start of his presidential run and is said to have been his personal favourite.

Lincoln once said of the photo: ‘That looks better and expresses me better than I have ever seen; if it pleases the people then I am satisfied.’

Lincoln photography expert Grant Romer said the image is the ‘closest you will ever get to seeing Lincoln, short of putting your eyeballs on the man himself.’

He added: ‘This is Lincoln in high definition. You can see more detail than you will ever see in a copy print.’

Lincoln was born on 12 February 1809.

Picture: Courtesy George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film

Lincoln photograph