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Jean-Antoine Houdon was a French sculptor who, working during the French Enlightenment, became well-known and celebrated for his portraiture. Included amongst his subjects were the philosopher and writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau, US presidents Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, King Louis XVI of France and Napoleon Bonaparte.
Houdon trained as a sculptor at the Royal Academy from 1752, winning the prestigious Prix de Rome in 1761 and subsequently working and studying there for ten years. He became a Royal Academician in 1771 and a professor in 1881. Since his death in 1828, his sculptures have been used as models for engravings of George Washington for many US postage stamps in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.