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    Description

    Pair of Very Rare Portrait Medallions of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin by Josiah Wedgwood and Thomas Bentley, c. 1777. These exquisite cameo medallions are white basalt on light blue jasper. They measure approximately 2" x 2.25" and are clearly marked on the back "Wedgwood / & Bentley". The portraits date from 1777 and show romanticized representations of both Washington and Franklin. Joshua Wedgwood and his partner Thomas Bentley were correspondents with Franklin and early supporters of the cause of American colonial liberty. Later, Wedgwood publicly changed positions, as support of the Colonials was controversial and detrimental to his business, although, he remained sympathetic to the American cause. The medallions were modeled by William Hackwood of the firm Wedgwood & Bentley. The Franklin medallion is impressed below the truncation "DR. FRANKLIN". The unnamed likeness of Washington is known as the "Voltaire" bust. A November 16, 1913 New York Times article about a collection of jasperware, which includes the Wedgwood Washington Voltaire Jasperware portrait piece states that " The most interesting piece among them is Josiah Wedgwood's portrait (of Washington) the famous medallion which was circulated all over France and England at the time of the revolution. This was made by Wedgwood at the insistence of Voltaire, and as there were no portraits of Washington at that time in England, a classic type of face was selected which seemed to embody the principles for which Washington stood".

    This fine pair is in excellent condition.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2011
    21st Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,146

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