Benjamin Franklin portrait by James B. Longacre, circa 1846
The subject of the portrait requires no introduction. This is an engraving of an incredibly famous painting of Benjamin Franklin by Scottish artist David Martin. Martin made multiple versions of this paintings, the most notable of which is currently displayed in the White House. Many, many engravers have made versions of this portrait but, Longacre’s is the only one completed in full-stipple and also manages to capture Franklin’s contemplative expression. James B. Longacre was an incredibly well-respected and successful engraver. He eventually became the fourth Chief Engraver of the United State Mint and is known for designing the Flying Eagle Cent. Before his meteoric rise, Longacre was born on a farm in Delaware County. He ran away from his home at the age of twelve and traveled to Philadelphia, where he apprenticed himself to bookstore owner John E. Watson. Later, through the advice and influence of Watson, he became an apprentice to engraver George Murray and worked for the engraving firm Murray, Draper, Fairman & Co. at 47 Sansom Street.
PAINTED BY MARTIN / ENGRAVED BY LONGACRE / Engraved for the Port-Folio published by H. Hall . / BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.
Width: 12.6 cm, Height: 18.9 cm