Portrait bust of Benjamin Franklin (Sèvres), 1778-1779 (and later)
Photo Courtesy of New-York...
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Photo Courtesy of New-York Historical Society

  • Overview
  • Description
  • Further Information
The Sèvres busts reproduce, with more or less fidelity, ones exhibited by Caffiéri at the Salon of 1777, and by Houdon in 1778. A plaster model survives that appears related to Caffiéri's terra cotta bust.

A few examples have been found in public collections. At this date (2006), there is record of two examples in the collections of Yale University, heights 7 3/8 inches (on a 2 5/8-inch socle), and 8 7/8 inches (on a 2 1/8-inch socle). These correspond roughly to the above-cited metric sizes of 18 and 26 centimeters. Manhattan's Cooper-Hewitt Museum of the Smithsonian owns a small bust, believed to be 8 1/8 inches high. Harvard's Fogg Museum owns an example whose dimensions are cited as being 23 cm x 22.4 cm x 13.5 cm (1943.1163). The Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, owns an example 11 3/8 inches tall, which they attribute to the modeler Josse François Leriche (#33-51). The New York Historical Society owns a bust on a marble base (1924.87). The White House collections are believed to include two, sizes of which are unknown at this time. Sotheby's NY is reported to have sold a large white biscuit bust on a glazed socle on 5/25/2000 (lot 58).

Connection to Franklin
Cast from a model created during Franklin's lifetime based on a life portrait
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