National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Born Boston, Massachusetts
This engraving was Franklin’s favorite likeness of himself during the 1760s. It was based on a painting made while he was in London in 1762 that emphasized his electrical experiments and inventions. He sent impressions to friends and colleagues, and his son William Franklin ordered at least one hundred, many of which were sold in Philadelphia. Franklin clearly understood the role of portraiture in securing one’s public reputation, and distributed this likeness widely.