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Edward Fisher, 1722 - 1785
Mason Chamberlin, 1727 - 1787
Benjamin Franklin, 17 Jan 1706 - 17 Apr 1790
Mezzotint on paper
Image: 34.9 x 27.7cm (13 3/4 x 10 7/8")
Sheet: 39.4 x 27.9cm (15 1/2 x 11")
Mat: 71.1 x 55.9cm (28 x 22")
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
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.