This portrait of Benjamin Franklin was painted by David Martin in 1767 in London, England. Franklin was a renowned author, inventor and philosopher who was also one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. He also served as the representative of the United States in France during the Revolutionary War. Martin was a Scottish painter who later became famous for portraits; this painting of Franklin was one of his early works. Franklin lived in London twice on behalf of the United States and its interests. This portrait was commissioned by Robert Alexander of William Alexander and Sons in Edinburgh, Scotland during one of those stays when Alexander had a property claim being disputed with another man. Both Alexander and the plaintiff agreed to seek Franklin's legal advice and promised to adhere to Franklin's decision. Franklin ruled in favor of Alexander, who commissioned the portrait in gratitude for Franklin's ruling.
Image rights: White House Collection/White House Historical Association
"This Art is Your Art" Competition: The White House Historical Association, Artsy, and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Walter H. Annenberg, 1962