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Lot 371: 1853 FRANKLIN'S RECEPTION AT THE COURT OF FRANCE, 1778 Ornate + Huge Engraving
29 October 2016
Rancho Santa Fe, CA, USALive Auction
Impressive 1853 "FRANKLIN'S RECEPTION AT THE COURT OF FRANCE, 1778" Ornate Decorative Engraving
1853-Dated, "FRANKLIN'S RECEPTION AT THE COURT OF FRANCE, 1778", Engraved by W.O. Geller of London after Baron Jolly, Brussels, copyright by William Jay, Charles Hardenberg and William H. Emerson, (Philadelphia), (1853), Fine.
This massive colorful and finely detailed historic Engraved Print titled, "FRANKLIN AT THE COURT OF FRANCE, 1778" measures 32" x 41.75", laid down on a thin vintage canvas for support, multiple edge chips and breaks, edge and internal splits and tears and some repaired tears from the blank reverse side, and in overall need of conservation. Sold "as is" as such. Worthy of restoration, fundamentally whole and very impressive. Printed text under title reads: "Receiving the homage of his Genius and the recognition of his Country's advent among the Nations. This Engraving from the Original picture is respectfully dedicated to the People of the United States".
This exceptional, mammoth oversize Print shows the newly arrived American Minister, Benjamin Franklin at center in his simple Quaker style clothes (as opposed to the resplendent finery of the courtiers), receiving a "Laurel Leaf" atop his head from the hands of Diane, Countess de Polignac. In a splendid interior with candelabra and drapery are assembled 16 prominent members of the Court of France including King Louis XVI (1774-1793), Marie Antoinette, the Comte de Vergennes (a signatory with Franklin of the crucial "Treaty of Alliance"), Duchesse Jules de Polignac, Princesse Lamballe, Mme. Campan, and a host of Counts, Countesses and ladies-in-waiting. This occasion depicts the Courts celebration of the signing of the long-awaited Treaty of Alliance and Commerce, signed on February 16, 1778, which authorized overt French assistance to the beleaguered Revolutionary War embroiled American Colonies in their war against Britain. A very rare example.