Brunk Auctions
Live Auction

Premier Auction - Session II | November 12, 2022

Sat, Nov 12, 2022 09:00AM EST
Lot 699

Two Rare Portraits of Benjamin Franklin

Estimate: $1,000 - $1,500

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $25
$100 $50
$1,000 $100
$2,000 $200
$3,000 $250
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000

French, 18th/19th century, sulphide cameo of Benjamin Franklin encased within cut glass, starburst design, with gilt bronze hanging loop on top, reverse of cameo signed "Desprez", 3/4 x 5-1/4 in.; Le Flambeau De L'Univers, hand colored etching depicting Benjamin Franklin, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Voltaire, within circle reading each's birth and death dates, wood portrait miniature frame, sight, 2-1/2 in. diameter, frame, 4-7/8 x 4-3/4 in.


An identical sulphide is at the National Portrait Gallery (1927X):

Identical examples at the Biblioteque National de France and the Freemasons Lodge, Philadelphia:

Biblioteque Nationale de France (Estampes, N2 VOLTAIRE)

Freemasons Lodge, Philadelphia,

Background on Important Private Collection from Boston:
I have been working with this collector for over 25 years, both in the initial acquisition of the objects and overseeing their conservation as needed. With a keen eye for quality and design, and a deep passion for all things classical, he has quietly amassed a top-notch collection of American furniture and decorative arts. The collection encompasses outstanding examples from the leading cabinetmakers of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, representing excellence in form and proportions, condition, wood quality, and carving. It also includes rare objects that are among the best of their kind. Now, with the downsizing of one of his properties, the offerings in this catalog are coming to market to find new owners who share a love for this remarkable period in American furniture history.
Clark Pearce,
Advisor and Consultant to Collectors and Institutions

Provenance: Property from an Important Boston Collection


interior air bubbles, scratches, scattered flea bites at edges; pest damage, chip to wood, warp to gilt metal liner

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