Benjamin Franklin portrait medallion, about 1776
In 1774 the English potter Josiah Wedgwood introduced a series of small portrait medallions depicting famous figures of the day. One of the best-selling likenesses was that of Benjamin Franklin, whose energetic pursuits as a journalist, inventor, entrepreneur, statesman, and diplomat defined him, in the eyes of many people of that generation, as the quintessential American. This Franklin medallion came to the Smithsonian in 1981 as part of the Henry Rau Collection of Wedgwood pottery.
Ceramics, Presidential Memorabilia