Benjamin Franklin

Henry Kirke Brown American
Cast by Ames Manufacturing Company American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774

In 1852 Brown completed high-relief profile portraits of three American statesmen - George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790). The Franklin medallion reflects Brown's signature naturalistic modeling of human form, evident in the receding hairline, incised pupils, and fleshy jowls. Likewise, his scrupulous attention to textural variation is reflected in the finely chased and stippled high collar, buttoned jacket, and long hair. This highly finished relief is a superlative example of early American bronze casting and was produced at the Ames Manufacturing Company in Chicopee, Massachusetts. The number of Franklin medallions cast by Ames is not documented; the Metropolitan's bronze is the only located example with a foundry mark. Brown's success with bronze casting inspired the next generation of American sculptors to opt more frequently for bronze instead of marble.

Benjamin Franklin, Henry Kirke Brown (American, Leyden, Massachusetts 1814–1886 Newburgh, New York), Bronze, American

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.