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Prints of Benjamin Franklin

The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd.Historical Prints

Prints of Benjamin Franklin


Baron Jolly. "Franklin At The Court Of France, 1778. Receiving the homage of his Genius, and the recognition of his Country's advent among the Nations. This Engraving from the Original picture is respectfully dedicated to the People of the United States." Philadelphia: William Jay, Charles J. Hendenberg, & William H. Emerson, 1853. 27 5/8 x 39 1/2. Engraved in London by W.G. Geller. Attractive hand color. Print mounted to old backing but in stable condition. Bottom left hand corner of image cracked and expertly in-painted. Some staining and discoloration in margins. Else, very good condition. Strong impression.

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

Schussele: Franklin before Lords in Council
Christian Schussele. "Franklin Before The Lords In Council, Whitehall Chapel, London 1774. This engraving from the Original Painting is respectfully Dedicated to the People of the United States by the Publisher." Philadelphia: John M. Butler, 1859. 27 x 39 1/4 (image) 32 x 43 (full sheet). Steel engraving by Robert Whitechurch. Full hand color. Very good condition. In period frame to museum specifications.

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 shows 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 ridiculed and 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. OUT ON APPROVAL JC

Schussele: Franklin at Court of St James
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.

A later, revised version (note the change in title) of the engraving above, from which areas showing attendance in the gallery at the top and seated at the far right have been deleted. $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

Franklin by Jno. Lodge
"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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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. Last updated November 21, 2014