CAFFIERI, Jean-Jacques

Paris 1725 - Paris 1792

Information given by Tamara Préaud, honorary archivist at the Manufacture nationale de Sèvres, June 19, 2013: model edited by Sèvres starting from 1791; initials LR refer to certificate given by Le Riche, head of Sculpture studio at Sèvres.

Maker: Sèvres, Manufacture nationale de

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

model edited from 1791 onwards

unglazed hard-paste porcelain


Dimensions (HxWxD): 9 116 x 8 1316 x 5 51; on base, H. 11 716 in.

inside base, graphite, handwritten: Bot of Sevres / Royal Mc / 7 June [ ] 25 / Jy / 1
back of bust, incised: LR / '3

Acc. No.: 1943.1163

Credit Line: Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop, 1943.1163

Photo credit: 2009 President and Fellows of Harvard College

© Artist : public domain


  • 1943, bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop to Fogg Art Museum


  • Museum's website, January 21, 2013
  • 1962 Coleman Sellers
    Charles Coleman Sellers, Benjamin Franklin in Portraiture, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1962, p. 371-372, pl. 14
  • 1975 Todd Ambler
    Louise Todd Ambler, Benjamin Franklin: A Perspective, exh. cat., Cambridge, Fogg Art Museum, 1975, no. 48, p. 84-85, repr.


  • 1975 Cambridge
    Benjamin Franklin: A Perspective, Cambridge, Fogg Art Museum, April 17-September 22, 1975, no. 48

Related works

  • This type with coat with big buttons, other copy in Sèvres porcelain:
    - San Francisco, CA, Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, Legion of Honor, H. 9 1/2, acc. no. 1925.477, Gift of the French Government for the opening of the Museum in 1925.
    Other type with knotted handkerchief:
    Painted terracotta, H. 27 (without base), exhibited at the Paris 1777 Salon, Paris, Bibliothèque Mazarine; inscribed at back: BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, NE A BOSTON EN AMERIQUE LE XVII JANVIER 1706, FAIT PAR J.J. CAFFIERI, EN 1777.
    Other plasters:
    - Brunswick, Maine, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, plaster painted as bronze, H. 29 7/8, acc. no. 1835.1, Gift of Benjamin Vaughan (1751-1835, friend of Benjamin Franklin) in 1835
    - London, Royal Academy, inscribed and signed
    - New York, NY, Metropolitan Museum of Art, plaster painted green, H. 13 1/2, acc. no. 83.2.190, Gift of William H. Huntington in 1883 (same model?)
    - New York, NY, New-York Historical Society, Gift of Dr. David Hosack (1769-1835) in 1835
    - Warsaw, Poland, Royal Castle Museum, inscribed and signed, acc. no. ZKW/3430, purchased by King Stanislaus from Caffieri in 1784
    - Washington, D.C., George Washington University, plaster painted bronze/gold, inscribed and signed, H. 28, Gift from Caffieri to the Royal Academy of Sciences in 1788, then gift from the Academy of Sciences through the Merci Train in 1949.
    Marble copies, some of them being possibly carved by Giuseppe Ceracchi (1751-1801), Italian sculptor who lived in Philadelphia 1790-1794:
    - Annapolis, MD, Maryland State Archives, H. 25, acc. no. MSA SC 4680-20-0029, formerly in the Peabody Institute Art Collection, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
    - Easton, PA, Lafayette College, H. 21, acc. no. S159
    - Hartford, CN, Wadsworth Athenaeum, H. 19 1/2, acc. no. 1939.460, Gift from estate of Mrs. James J. Goodwin in 1949
    - Philadelphie, PA, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, formerly at Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia, H. 20 (without base)
    - Philadelphia, PA, Pennsylvania Hospital
    - Philadelphia, PA, Second Bank of the United States
    - Philadelphia, PA, The Franklin Institute, bust cut at shoulders
    - San Marino, CA, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, H. 20 1/2, acc. no. 24.4, Acquired by Henry E. Huntington in 1924.


  • Louise Todd Ambler, Benjamin Franklin: A Perspective, 1975, p. 85:
    Franklin's appearance at the time of his French mission is recorded also in two terra-cotta busts: a life portrait modelled by Jean Jacques Caffiéri in 1777 and exhibited at the Salon the following year; and a bust signed by Jean Antoine Houdon in 1778, which was exhibited at the same Salon - 1779 - as the Duplessis painting. The numerous casts taken from each served as models for many artists who produced Franklin's likeness for years to come, not only in marble, porcelain, bronze, and silver, but in virtually all media from engravings to painted cups. Caffiéri was able to arrange sittings with Franklin, and his stern portrait is undoubtedly the more physiognomically correct of the two. [...] Both were reproduced in unglazed porcelain, the Caffiéri with variations, by the royal porcelain manufactory at Sèvres. The very large coat buttons popular in the 1790s, which appear in one version of the Caffiéri, strongly suggest that it was on eof the many French tributes to Franklin after his death. A small silver bust at the Fogg Art Museum also derives from the Caffiéri portrait, and appears to be a memorial.