Object Record

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Catalog Number 01.C.36
Object Name Medallion
Title Medallion with Portrait of Benjamin Franklin
Artist Nini, Jean-Baptiste
Artist 2 Walpole, Thomas, Jr., after
Date 1777
Description Obverse: Profile bas-relief portrait of Benjamin Franklin in a fur hat. "B. Franklin. Americain" around image. Impressed on tranche of shoulder "Nini / F1777" and "1777" repeated below, with a relief shield emblazoned with lightning rod and thunderbolt and surmounted by a crown. Reverse: blank. Twisted wire hanger with loop at top.
Label Many artists created images of Benjamin Franklin while he served as U.S. ambassador to France from 1776 to 1785. This bas-relief medallion by Jean-Baptiste Nini, an Italian sculptor working in Paris, was one of the most popular and widely copied Franklin portraits. Nini chose to portray his subject wearing a humble fur hat instead of an aristocratic wig, reflecting Franklin's modest style of dress. A direct descendant of Benjamin Franklin bequeathed this medallion to the APS in 1989. The donor described the piece as one of twelve original medallions that Nini gave Franklin in 1777.
Medium Terracotta
Dimensions Dia-4.375 inches
Credit line American Philosophical Society. Gift at the bequest of Francis Sergeant Childs, 1989.
Search Terms 18th century
eighteenth century
Founding Father