In Frame: 12” x 10”
The Card: 8.75” x 6.5”
The Regency period silhouette showing a boy or youth, full-length with whip, his right hand resting on a period chair, the whole of ink and watercolour heightened with gold on card survives in its original gilt gesso frame from early nineteenth century England.
The silhouette is in good order with light overall dis-colouration and a mild stain to the upper right corner in what is the original ornate early nineteenth century giltwood and composition frame that has been retouched in a bronzing paint.
There is a clue to the silhouettes history to the reverse, which would be interesting to pursue further, which is ‘Lord B’ to the upper right corner. The reverse is partially covered in 1889 newspaper article.
The traditional method of creating silhouette portrait is to cut them from lightweight black cardboard, and mount them on a pale background. This was the work of specialist artists, often working out of booths at fairs or markets. There was a distinct impact impact of neoclassicism on silhouette art in the late eighteenth century and then when the Regency period arrived, a focus on fashion, ageing and identity. Then shortly afterwards in the 1830s and 40s, the silhouette became more of a portrait and conversation piece. This particular silhouette covers fashion and identity certainly and would surely have proved a conversation piece.
This work has a beautiful balance to it, something about its composition is just so very right.