Portrait of Benjamin Franklin (Peale), 1789
Photo courtesy of Atwater...
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Photo courtesy of Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia

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Expanding the portrait's scope and increasing its intimacy, Peale depicted Franklin seated before a window, wearing a dressing gown over his shirt and waistcoat. He sits at a desk or writing table, holding a lightning rod. Through the window can be seen a stormy sky with a bolt of lightning tearing the clouds. Before him on the desk is a silver inkstand, pen and sheets of paper. On one sheet is written Franklin's enthusiastic description of the nature and behavior of "electric fluid."
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