Mask of Benjamin Franklin, 1790?
Hutton Collection of Life...
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Hutton Collection of Life and Death Masks. Department of Rare Books and Special Collection. Princeton University Library.

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The mask is a copy in plaster of Paris of a mask that has been called both a life mask and a death mask. The face from forehead to chin is represented in an inch-thick hollow mask with flat edges.

The eyes, nose and mouth are captured, with the head and face up to (though not including) the ears. The configuration of the face/head is more oval than egg-shaped, with the chin and jawline broad rather than pointed. The eyes are closed, the mouth is closed and the lips relaxed in a slight bow. The forehead is high and domed; the brows are prominent, almost meeting in the center of the face; the nose is long and straight, very slightly concave in profile rather than hooked or arched. The chin is sharply prominent.

On the reverse, at the uppermost forehead, a 3/8-inch metal ring or loop was inserted into the plaster while it was still wet. The loop now holds a loop of thin, irregular wire, about 3 3/4 inches long, that may once have been used to hang the mask. Written around the underside of the thick plaster that makes up the mask are a series of pencil inscriptions: Franklin / Ex 37" and FRANKLIN / EX 37" and "Ex37/ By Houdon" and "Life" and "Franklin."
Connection to Franklin
Mask of Franklin's face Terms of Use Credits