The French sculptor was a member of a family of craftsmen of Italian origin. Philippe Caffieri worked for Louis XIV; his sons Jacques and Philippe were also in the royal service. Among other projects, they are known to have worked at Versailles, carving interior and exterior ornamentation. Jean-Jacques, son of Philippe, became a sculptor who is celebrated today for his portraits; he created busts of many literary figures.
Caffiéri's bust of Franklin was exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1777, and was met with acclaim. In addition, his bust has served as the model for uncounted numbers of copies. Caffiéri was actively engaged during the French Revolution in efforts to preserve the monuments that were at risk from destruction by crowds of rebels.