Boston Art Commission

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Benjamin Franklin

Artist:

Richard Saltontall Greenough and Thomas Ball

Location:

Old City Hall, in courtyard on School St.  

Location

Old City Hall, in courtyard on School St.
United States
42° 21' 28.332" N, 71° 3' 34.2" W

Neighborhood:

Downtown

Type:

Sculpture

Year:

1856

Medium:

granite and marble

Collection:

City of Boston

Funders:

Unknown

Description:

Benjamin Franklin has long captured the imagination of the American people. We admire him not only for his specific accomplishments, but also for his ingenuity and his ability to excel in so many different roles: politician, writer, publisher, diplomat, scientist, and inventor. This tribute to Franklin honors his many talents and commemorates his Boston roots. It is situated at the original site of the Boston Latin School, which Franklin attended. Richard S. Greenough’s 8-foot tall bronze figure depicts Franklin with fur trim, a tricorner hat and a cane, his less-than-ideal physique compelling nonetheless. On the base below, four bronze plaques, designed by Greenough and sculptor Thomas Ball, depict significant moments in Franklin’s life. He is shown learning to use a printing press as a boy, conducting his famous kite experiment, signing the Declaration of Independence, and signing the Treaty of Paris in 1873, which ended the Revolutionary War. The sculpture was erected to honor the 150th anniversary of Franklin’s birth and was financed with funds collected from the public. This was Thomas Ball’s first public commission, launching his long and successful career as a sculptor of public monuments.

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