Benjamin Franklin(1706-1790), American statesman; signer of the Declaration of Independence
Sitter in 8 portraits
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin's achievements as a statesman, diplomat and writer influenced the outcome of the American War of Independence (1775-83). He is recognised as Foundling Father of the United States of America, being the only person to sign the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the Peace Treaty in 1783 and the United States Constitution in 1787. The study of electricity was also a particular interest and he published Experiments and Observations on Electricity in 1751. In 1743 he co-founded The Philosophical Society (now know as the American Philosophical Society) in Philadelphia, which is regarded as the oldest learned society in the United States.
Watch a film clip on the sitter from the BBC Archive in the Media section below
by Asher Brown Durand, after John Trumbull
line engraving, published 1820 (1786-1797)