Bust of Benjamin Franklin By Jean-Antoine Houdon (French, 1741-1828). When Benjamin Franklin arrived in Paris in 1776, representing his now independent country, the fame of the economist, inventor, abolitionist, publisher, poet, scientist and statesman, philosopher and publicist had spread through the Western World. He was closer to the hearts of the people on the continent than any of the other towering figures of the American Revolution. Engravings and decorated plates, miniatures in clay, porcelain and plaster almost mass-produced, made his likeness known to an eager and sympathetic public. No wonder then that Jean-Antoine Houdon, the list of whose works reads like an encyclopedia of the great names of the era, decided to model his portrait, all the more as a warm friendship had developed between the two men. The bust created by Houdon is probably responsible for giving more people their conception of what Benjamin Franklin looked like than from any other source or sculptor.