Portrait bust of Benjamin Franklin (after Caffiéri), 19th century
Photo courtesy of Constance...
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Photo courtesy of Constance V. Hershey

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Photo courtesy of Constance...
Photo courtesy of Constance...
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The sculpture is a very close copy of the bust by Jean Jacques Caffiéri as interpreted by Guiseppe Ceracchi. That is, Franklin is depicted with waving hair combed back from his forehead, flowing over his ears to his shoulders. His head is thrust forward with his eyes downward slightly (the significant difference between Caffiéri's version and Ceracchi's). He wears contemporary dress: suggestions of a coat, and a loosely knotted tie (sometimes described as a scarf). Like Ceracchi's, the lower edge of the bust is cut away in a deep circle. The image is placed on a short four-sided base whose front edge is an extension of the fore edge of the image. In this detail, it differs both from the Caffiéri and the Ceracchi busts. The bottom of the base is stepped, its fore edge is brought forward in a gentle curve, its front corners are notched. The base is drawn inward sharply on all sides, its front surface is cut away slightly to create an ornamental central panel and stippled surround.

The underside of the base contains four 1/2-inch, evenly-spaced dowels of a different wood, possibly sawn-off pegs that fastened it to a now-missing pediment or article of furniture.

(On the underside are three small, red-edged paper tags on which are written references to The Magazine Antiques, February 1955, p. 90, and November 1955, p. 381; however, the pages cited don't contain references to the bust.)

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