Portrait medallion of Benjamin Franklin (Champion), 1778
The British Museum, London
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The British Museum, London

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Benjamin Franklin and his Circle: A Catalogue of an Exhibition (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1936) (notes by R.T.H. Halsey, Joseph Downs, and Marshall Davidson)

Detweiler, Susan Gray, George Washington's Chinaware, New York : Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1982. p. 139, illus. 113.

A Bristol portrait wreath was inherited in the Franklin family that is believed to have been presented to him by Champion. It descended from him to his daughter, Sarah; from Sarah to her son, William, who predeceased his wife, Catherine. Her will (1821) includes the line "To my daughter Sarah Bache I give a Seve [sic] china medallion of Doctor Franklin, which was presented by Louis the Sixteenth of France to the daughter of Doctor Franklin." The medallion descended from Sarah (who married Charles Hodge) to her son, Dr. Caspar Wister Hodge, and from him to his daughter, Mary Blanchard Hodge Magie. It was lent by her to the Metropolitan Museum of Art's 1936 exhibition. The medallion was not located for the 2006 exhibition.

The history of this plaque illustrates how quickly the identity of an object can be obscured. By 1821 its origin was already misidentified; and a history was fabricated to agree with the object's appearance.

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