Portrait of Benjamin Franklin (After Thomas Gainsborough), 18th century
No Image Available
  • Overview
  • Description
  • Further Information
Franklin is depicted seated in an armchair, wearing a red-brown velvet/corduroy suit, with a brown fur cuff. His white shirt has a simple tie at the neck and ruffled sleeves. His gray hair is shoulder length, visible on both sides of his lined face. His glasses have round lenses with dark frames. In his right hand, which is visible near the lower edge of the canvas, is a curling booklet or cluster of cream-colored pages with a blue string tie fastened to the cover. Positioned to look toward the viewer's right side of the painting, he sits on an armchair that is upholstered in dark cloth or leather held to the frame by large round-headed tacks. The tacking line is partly visible along the crest rail and right armrest. A table or other surface covered with dark green (probably to represent a green baize cloth) supports two leather-covered books, one thick and one thin. With them is a small dark (glass?) inkwell holding a thin quill. Gazing down on him from the upper right edge of the scene is a gray portrait bust that resembles the bust of Newton used by David Martin in his Franklin portrait to signify scientific achievement. Consultation with conservator Barbara Ventresco, who has examined the work, confirms that it is on old canvas, possibly 18th century. Ventresco has spoken with an associate who believes the painting may possibly be a copy by Gainsborough of an earlier painting, since he did make copies of older works when his career was beginning.
postmaster@benfranklin300.org Terms of Use Credits