Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
Terracotta in painted gilded frame
Overall: 6 1/8 x 5 3/4 x 1 1/4 x 4 5/8 in. ( 15.6 x 14.6 x 3.2 x 11.7 cm )
inscriptions: signed under proper left shoulder: "NINI/F 1777 [followed by coat of arms]" inscribed: around profile: "B. FRANKLIN AMERICAIN"
The profile medallion of Franklin by sculptor Jean-Baptiste Nini was one of the first and most popular French likenesses put into mass circulation. Based on a drawing by English artist Thomas Walpole, the Nini portrait was well-regarded by Franklin. He enthused about the medallion in a 1779 letter to his daughter: "The clay medallion of me you say you gave to Mr. Hopkinson was the first of its kind made in France. A variety of others have been made since of different sizes; some to be set in the lids of snuffboxes, and some so small as to be worn in rings; and the numbers sold are incredible. These, with the pictures, busts and prints, (of which copies upon copies are spread everywhere,) have made your father's face as well known as that of the moon…"
Gift of Mr. Goodhue Livingston, Jr.
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.