image Franklin P46
Image number: RS.9270
Credit: © The Royal Society
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Portrait of Benjamin Franklin




Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790, American), Politician


Joseph Wright (1756-1793, American), Painter

Object type



height (painting): 755mm
width (painting): 640mm



Franklin is painted seated at half-length, his upper body angled to the viewer’s right, gazing forward. He has natural grey shoulder-length hair, thinning at the forehead. Franklin wears a red coat and waistcoat, the latter half unbuttoned, showing a white shirt and neck-cloth. A gilded chair is just visible behind.

Benjamin Franklin was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1756.

Object history

Presented by Caleb Whitefoord FRS, 1790.

The presentation is noted in the annual Philosophical Transactions list of gifts [“Presents made to the Royal Society from November 1790 to June 1791; with the names of the donors”, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, vol.81 pt.1 1791, p.424. ] and in the Journal Books meeting of the Royal Society, for 9 December 1790. [Royal Society Journal Book Original, JBO/34 p.222].

Associated place

<The World>
   > North America
      > United States