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Lot 368: c. 1800, Print of Benjamin Franklin at Age 84
October 29, 2016
Rancho Santa Fe, CA, USALive Auction
Mint "Dr. Franklin Aged 84" Engraved Copper Plate Print
(c. 1800) Print of Benjamin Franklin at Age 84, Engraved by D. Edwin, Uncolored, Later struck impression Off the Original Copper Plate, Very Choice Mint.
This beautiful, stippled portrait of Benjamin Franklin, no date or place, is Signed in the Engraved Print by C.W. Peale (as the painter) and D. Edwin (as the engraver). Captioned, "Dr. Franklin Aged 84," below the bust. The image shows an older, bespectacled view of Franklin. This lovely portrait was printed from a Copper Plate measuring 6.25" x 4" with a deep prooflike impression, into an overall larger later era white heavy wove paper sheet, to the overall size of 10" x 8."
This historic image is a copy of Charles Willson Peale's portrait of Franklin made in 1785, upon Franklin's return from completing peace negotiations in England (now on display at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts). Edwin must have made this engraving sometime in or after 1790, subsequent to Franklin's death at age 84. A wonderful fresh looking print, the original engraved printing plate now being over 200 years old, which is highly suitable for framing and display.
David Edwin (1776-1841) was a noted engraver during the late 1700's and early 1800's. Born in Bath, England, he apprenticed with a Dutch engraver, then moved to America, arriving in Philadelphia in 1797. During the next 30 years he was a prolific engraver of prints, and was especially known for the quality of his portraits. About 1830 failing eyesight forced him to cease is work.