2008, Number 24
Published September 2012
©2012 by The Wedgwood Society of New York, ISSN 1043-3317
On the cover:a Wedgwood & Bentley portrait medallion of Benjamin Franklin.
R.T.H. Halsey, the founder of the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, collected Wedgwood
portrait medallions of American interest and had a particular fascination with Benjamin
Franklin. Most of Halsey’s medallions were purchased from Frederick Rathbone, a London
dealer who specialized in Wedgwood. In 1905, the collection of Sir Richard Tangye, a
Birmingham manufacturer, came onto the market. It included this large portrait medallion of
Benjamin Franklin. Rathbone wrote to Halsey, “You will know by my cable that I have secured
the large Franklin, Friday, on receipt of your cable. I wrote to Sir Richard saying that my
instructions were to buy the portrait on best possible terms and proposing I should come out to
day and arrange, if he did not wire to the contrary. But he did, that he was sending it by footman.
Arrived at one o’clock and a very fine portrait it is!” This example may be the very one that
Halsey purchased from Rathbone. The three-part transcription of the Rathbone-Halsey letters
at Winterthur concludes in this issue starting on page 38. Pale blue ground dipped darker blue,
c. 1780, impressed WEDGWOOD & BENTLEY mark, 10 7/8" x 8" (27.6 x 20.3 cm). Brooklyn
Museum, Gift of Emily Winthrop Miles, 57.180.4.
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