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Prints of Benjamin Franklin

The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd.Historical Prints

Prints of Benjamin Franklin


"Benjamin Franklin, Né à Boston le 17 Janver 1706. Mort à Philadelphie le 19 Avril 1790." Line engraving. 9 1/2 x 6 3/4 platemarks, plus generous margins. Paris, circa 1790. Excellent condition.

This portrait was one of many that celebrated the fame of Benjamin Franklin soon after his death. Depicted here is the philosopher wearing a fur hat that is different from the famous one in Charles Nicolas Cochin's renditions in and around 1777. Here is portraiture within and supported by a grand stone entablature that celebrates the man within an architectural framework. A strong and impassioned dedication done during a time of great revolution in France and the Western World. JT OUT ON APPROVAL

Schussele: Franklin at Court of St James
Christian Schussele. "Franklin Before The Lords In Council 1774." New York: Thomas Kelley, 1859. 21 1/2 x 28 (full sheet). Steel engraving by Robert Whitechurch. 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 depicts 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 much 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. $1,200

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 larger, later edition of the image above. $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 portrait from the 19th century:


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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. Last updated October 16, 2018