Portrait print of Benjamin Franklin (Carmontelle/Née), 1781
Collection of Stuart E....
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Collection of Stuart E. Karu. Photo by Peter Harholdt

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The engraving shows Franklin seated in an open armchair in a stylized interior. He is depicted in profile, his heavy body filling the capacious open cabriolet armchair, his legs extended slightly before him. The cuff of his left sleeve and ruffle of his shirt suggest the position of his hands, resting on his stomach. His entire mien is of the simple philosopher. His hair hangs to his shoulders; his suit is unornamented; his stockings are white and his shoes black with plain buckles. A large tricorne hat is poised on the end of a table or desk, just visible behind him. Projecting from beneath it is an open book and a scroll of paper entitled "Les Loix de la Pensilvanie." The room in which he sits is suggested by blocks of flooring and the framework of wooden mouldings. His figure is placed at an open doorway or window, so that his profile is bathed in light from the cloud-filled heavens.

Below the image, on the left, is "L.C. Carmontelle, Del.," on the right, "Née sculp." The caption centered beneath, in script, is "On l'a vu Desarmer les Tirans et les Dieux" (The French rendering of Turgot's Latin "Eripuit coelo fulmen sceptrumque tirannis,"rendered in English as "He seized lightning from the heavens and the scepter from tyrants."). Below that: "A Paris chez Née rue des Francs-Bourgeois, Porte St. Michel/ A.P.D.R."

Multiple original examples exist, including in the collections of:
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution (NPG.77.218)
Philadelphia Museum of Art (1946-51-243
Stuart E. Karu (private collection)
S. Robert Teitelman (private collection)

Another is owned by a descendant of Franklin through Benjamin Franklin Bache, with a family history of having been owned by Franklin.

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