A large, formal engraving of Benjamin Franklin at the Court of France in 1778. Based on a painting by Baron Jolly from Brussels, the image shows Franklin surrounded by the gentlemen and ladies of Louis XVI's court, with one of the ladies crowning Franklin with a laurel wreath. The French court, the most elegant in the world, is shown off with its architectural and sartorial splendor, which contrasts to the simple Quaker style dress of Franklin. The print symbolizes the "Genius" and "recognition of [the United States'] advent among the Nations," and it reflects the growing sense of stature by Americans in the middle of the nineteenth century. This is one of the most attractive of the large historical prints issued in the mid-nineteenth century. $900
Tompkins Harrison Matteson. "Benjamin Franklin. Born in Boston, Jan.. 17th, 1706-Died in Philadelphia, April 17th, 1790." New York: The Albion, ca. 1860. 20 x 14. Engraving by Henry Sadd. Printed by J. Dalton. Several short tears in margins not affecting image. Otherwise, very good condition.
A delightful and symbolic portrait print of Benjamin Franklin. Drawn by the 19th century American artist, Tompkins Matteson, this print celebrates Franklin's accomplishments visually. Propped up on the desk is a large book which deals with Franklin's treatises on electricity. In the background, outside the window, a thunderbolt strikes from the stormy heavens. Another large book, Laws of Pennsylvania, rests against his chair which illustrates his time in the Pennsylvania Assembly. In his left hand are bifocal spectacles which he invented. His success as a writer is indicated by a small copy of Poor Richards Almanac and a feathered pen. In his other hand is a compass and below a large floor globe indicating his success as a diplomat. On the table is a rolled plan of a library which is most likely the Library Company which was founded by Franklin.
The original painting and subsequent print was commissioned by the New York Albion, a weekly news paper that flourished during the mid 19th century. This print was offered to subscribers and to the general public. It was the Albion's custom to commission prints once or twice a year. Tompkins H. Matteson was a painter of historical and political scenes who produced some of the more interesting American historical prints of the mid-nineteenth century. This steel engraving by H.S. Sadd, who engraved a number of Matteson's paintings, is wonderful example of his output. $825
Christian Schussele. "Franklin at the Court of St. James, London, 1774." New York: Thomas Kelly, 1868. 25 x 34 3/4. Steel engraving by Whitechurch. Proof before letters. Very faint mat burn in margins. Otherwise, very good condition.
In June of 1773, the House of Representatives in Massachusetts petitioned the crown for the removal from office of Governor Hutchinson. Benjamin Franklin, as an agent of that body, was assigned the task of presenting its demand in London. This was in response to letters written by Hutchinson, intercepted by Franklin and sent to Boston, in which Hutchinson stated that England must do something to prevent the state from separating from Britain. This print is of Franklin's appearance before the privy council at the Cockpit in Whitehall on January 29, 1774. Franklin was in an embarrassing position for he was British deputy postmaster general in North America and also a spokesman for the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Every member of the Privy council attended and spectators came in numbers. News of the Boston Tea Party arrived in London at this time and there was a lot of anti-American feeling. Attending were Lord North and General Gage. Franklin himself did not speak, but was represented by two lawyers who strongly urged the removal of Hutchinson. This was rejected and Franklin was deprived of his position as deputy postmaster general. Franklin stayed in London for another fourteen months to try to ease the strain between England and the colonies, but it was after this event that Franklin saw himself as an American and not as an Englishman. $1,800
Charles G. Crehen after Fredericks. "Benjamin Franklin." New York: William Schaus, ca. 1855. Lithographed by C.G. Crehen. Printed by J.H. Bufford, Boston. Tinted lithograph. 25 1/2 x 19 1/4. Expertly repaired tears (2) in margins, else, very good condition.
A large bust portrait of Franklin drawn by Charles G. Crehen after a portrait by Fredericks. The print is part of a series of portraits of eminent Americans published by William Schaus. Schaus in 1847 was sent to New York by the Paris firm of Goupil, Vibert & Co. as their American agent, but in 1850 he set up on his own as a print publisher. As one of his first projects he intended to issue twelve portraits a year in a series called the "Illustrious Americans," which was to include Daniel Webster, General Lafayette, and Benjamin Franklin. The lithographic artist, Charles Crehen, was a Frenchman who immigrated to the United States in 1850. Crehen worked as an artist in many different cities around the country and was particularly known for his portraits. In the Schaus series, Crehen produced larger-than-life drawings on stone based on extant images, and these were printed as tinted lithographs by J.H. Bufford of Boston. This striking portrait is typical of the series, with an imposing yet humane bust image of Franklin. $450
"Benjamin Franklin." 19th century engraving by Jno. Lodge. Image ca 2 3/4 x 2 1/2. Very good condition.
A nice small engraving based on the portrait from Almon's Intelligencer (1777). $65
Book plate engraved portraits from the 19th century:
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