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Bust of Benjamin Franklin (1706-90): M.2-1902

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Bust of Benjamin Franklin (1706-90)


Sculptor: Houdon, Jean-Antoine
Founder: Barbedienne, F.




Bronze electrotype. Inscribed on the back: 'Benjamin Franklin/by/Jean Antoine Houdon, 1778/For/Cambridge University, England/A gift from/Jonathan Ackerman Coles, A.B., A.M., M.D./an alumnus of/Columbia University, New York, U.S.A.'


History note: Given by Jonathan Ackerman Coles to the University in or before 1902.See letter in file for object, of 7th June, 1902, addressed to M.R. James from A.W. C , stating that the bust had been presented to the University. (The original is in the Museum Archives, 062648).

Legal notes

Given by Jonathan Akerman Coles

Measurements and weight

Depth: 24 cm
Height: 56.3 cm
Width: 36.3 cm

Relative size of this object

36.3 cm56.3 cm24 cm What does this represent?

Relative size of this object is displayed using code inspired by Good Form and Spectacle's work on the British Museum's Waddeson Bequest website and their dimension drawer. They chose a tennis ball to represent a universally sized object, from which you could envisage the size of an object.

Place(s) associated

  • Paris ⪼ France

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1902) by Coles, Jonathan Ackerman


Late 19th-early 20th Century
1860 CE - 1902 CE

People, subjects and objects depicted


  • Sculpture UK

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Electrotyping : Bronze electrotype

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: F. BARBEDIENNE Fondeur
  • Location: On left shoulder edge
  • Type: Mark
  • Text: houdon X . 1778
  • Location: On right shoulder edge
  • Type: Mark
  • Text: Tiffany & Co
  • Location: Below inscription at the back
  • Type: Mark
  • Text: Benjamin Franklin/by/Jean Antoine Houdon, 1778/For/Cambridge University, England/A gift from/Jonathan Ackerman Coles, A.B., A.M., M.D./an alumnus of/Columbia University, New York, U.S.A.
  • Method of creation: Inscribed on the back

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.2-1902
Primary reference Number: 12180
External ID: CAM_CCF_M_2_1902
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Thursday 17 June 2021 Last processed: Friday 18 June 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Bust of Benjamin Franklin (1706-90)" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-02-09 10:38:32

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{{cite web|url= |title=Bust of Benjamin Franklin (1706-90) |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-02-09 10:38:32|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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