Franklin in Portraits: Charles Willson Peale after David Martin

Portrait of Benjamin Franklin by David Martin, reading a paper, wearing a powdered wig

To celebrate the launch of our virtual exhibition, Franklin in Portraits, join us for a series of talks about Benjamin Franklin’s most famous portraits. We continue our series with a discussion on the differences between two versions of the same portrait: Benjamin Franklin by David Martin and the copy made by Charles Willson Peale in 1785, given to the American Philosophical Society. The original portrait by Martin was commissioned by Robert Alexander of the firm of William Alexander & Sons, in Edinburgh. It is meant to represent Benjamin Franklin as an Enlightenment figure and English gentleman. It is also one of the rare portraits done during his time in London while he was living at 36 Craven Street (Benjamin Franklin House). Join Dr. Janine Yorimoto Boldt and Dr George Boudreau for a discussion on the differences between the two paintings and what these differences symbolize for Early American portraiture.

Dr George Boudreau is a cultural historian of early Anglo-America, specializing in the history of Philadelphia, the work of Benjamin Franklin, material culture, and public history. Boudreau was the founding editor of the journal Early American Studies, and has won six major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. He was a fellow at Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington in 2019-20 and has previously completed fellowships at the Jamestown Rediscovery and the Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture at Williamsburg, the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello, the Library Company of Philadelphia, Winterthur Museum and Library, the American Philosophical Society, and the David Library of the American Revolution. A 1998 Ph.D. from Indiana University, he is currently senior research associate at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and is a member of the Academic Advisory Panel for Benjamin Franklin House.

Dr. Janine Yorimoto Boldt is art historian and cultural historian specializing in early American visual culture. She is currently the Associate Curator of American Art at the Chazen Museum of Art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. From 2018-2020 she was the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow at the American Philosophical Society where she was the lead curator for the exhibition Dr. Franklin, Citizen Scientist and co-curator for the 2019 exhibition Mapping a Nation: Shaping the Early American Republic. Boldt received her PhD in American Studies from William & Mary and her scholarship focuses on the social and political functions of colonial portraiture. She is the researcher behind, a digital project produced in collaboration with the Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture. Her research has been supported by fellowships from Colonial Williamsburg, the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, Winterthur Museum and Library, the Decorative Arts Trust, and the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts.