(b. 1737, Anstruther, Fife, d. 1798, Edinburgh)
Portrait of Benjamin Franklin1767
Oil on canvas on panel, 127 x 101 cm
White House, Washington
This portrait of Benjamin Franklin was commissioned by Robert Alexander, of the firm of William Alexander & Sons, Edinburgh. The beribboned document held by Franklin in the portrait is not a treaty or an Act of Parliament, but one of Alexander's deeds. The other books and pamphlets suggest the learned evidence brought in support of a wise man's decision. The bust of Isaac Newton, whose gaze is directed toward Franklin, invokes the greatest English voice of Reason.