Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Honoré-Thomas Bligny: Receipt for Picture Frames, [12 July 1781]

From Honoré-Thomas Bligny:9 Receipt for Picture Frames

DS: American Philosophical Society

[July 12, 1781]

Memoire des Bordures et verres fournis pour Son Excellence Monsieur de Francklin Ministre plenipotentiaire des Provinces unies de la Merique Septentrionnalle, fourni par Bligny pere Cour du Manége aux Thuilleries


Le 12. Juillet 1781. deux Bordures pour les portrais de Washington1 de 2. pouces de profil a la grec à 2 ornemens apretté, dorée d’or Jaune et Brunis et Surles Epaisseurs, d’ensemble 14. pieds 6 pouces à 2 l.t. 10 s. le pied2 Vallent 36 l.t. 5
Plus deux Couronnemens en Laurier Sculptés en bois aprettés et dorés à 15l.t. chacun3 Vallent 30 ″ - ″ -
Un verre pour une des dites Bordures Carton et monture 3.10
Un autre idem 4. ″-″ -
73 l.t. 15 s.
[in another hand:]plus lestempe [illegible] par le mire 12
85 l.t. 15

In William Temple Franklin’s hand:] Recu le montant a Passy le 12 Juillet 1781. pr mr(?) bligny

Notation: Bligny, Printseller his Acct 85. 15s. Pd. 12. July 81.4

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

9The Parisian printseller who had produced the engraving which is the frontispiece to vol. 33. BF had purchased prints and frames from Bligny in the past, but this is the only bill from him that survives: XXXIII, xxvii, 5.

1We assume that these are the engravings by Le Mire of the portrait of Washington commissioned by Lafayette and painted by Le Paon. In March, 1780, BF had been consulted about which historical documents Le Mire should depict in the composition: XXXII, 65. Le Mire had announced that the engraving would be ready by November, 1780 (XXXII, 65n), but it was not available until June 14, 1781, when the Jour. de Paris reported that subscribers could now obtain their copies. The print measured 18 by 13 pouces (roughly equivalent to inches), and sold for 12 l.t. BF must certainly have been given one copy by the engraver, but the last item on this bill indicates that he purchased another.

2Material for simple frames was sold by length. This one’s “profile,” or contour, was classical; the frame was finished and gilded in two colors of gold.

3Many late eighteenth-century frames were crowned by sculpted designs; the ones here were composed of laurels. For a far more elaborate laurel crown, see the frame of the Duplessis portrait of BF that is reproduced as the frontispiece to vol. 1.

4This sum was recorded in WTF’s account XXIII (XXIX, 3).

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