Portrait print of Benjamin Franklin (Bounieu/Chevillet), 1778
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Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art

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This engraving was copied from a drawing by Michel-Honoré Bounieu (French, 1740-1814) that was made after the 1778 bust of Franklin by Jean-Antoine Houdon. The composition sets the image of Franklin within an oval window. The artist has extended the lines of Houdon's bust almost to Franklin's waist, depicting his opened coat and his partially unbuttoned waistcoat. Franklin is positioned at three-quarter view, glancing slightly toward the viewer. The oval window is edged with a pointed leaf border, and set within a larger composition that creates a false stone monument. The rectangular surround replicates a deep oakleaf moulding with beaded inner edge. Within that is placed the oval containing the image. The four corners created by the placement of the oval within the rectangle are ornmanted with flower-filled spandrels.

Below the image is a caption, set within a rectangular reserve:"FRANKELIN/ Ministre Plénipotentiaire des Etats Unies/ de l'Amérique Septentrionale." The work is signed "Gravé par Chevillet" and "Dessinée par Bounieu d'après le Buste de M. Houdon." This print was paired with a portrait of George Washington in a publication called Gallery of Famous Living Men.

Multiple original examples exist, including in the collections of:
Philadelphia Museum of Art (1946-51-198)
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian (NPG.96.106) Institution
Another is owned by a descendant of Franklin through Benjamin Franklin Bache, with a family history of having been owned by Franklin.

Another French print made after 1779 based on the Houdon bust is owned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1985-52-4774)

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