Musings

C. H. Hudson – a little known artist of tender years mastering a delicate technique

26th May 2017

Miss C. H. Hudson is an artist who has long intrigued me. Though rarely seen, her work has great charm and is painted with delicacy. When British Silhouette Artists and their Work 1760-1860 was published, Sue McKechnie had only seen one example of a silhouette by C. H. Hudson and this dearth of information led her to suggest that the artist may be a son of the better-documented silhouette artist, Elizabeth Hudson (née Chilcot). Mrs Hudson, born in Bath between 1750 and 1754, painted silhouettes between 1793 and the early 1800s. She specialized in bust-length profiles reverse-painted on convex glass backed with plaster.
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H. Readhead (Unrecorded & Rarely Seen Artists, no. 4)

9th February 2016

Little is known about the silhouette artist H. Readhead who was working during the 1790s. There are few recorded examples of his work and so this hitherto unknown profile by him has prompted this brief piece.

The profile is readhead child-sreverse painted on convex glass in an accomplished and detailed style. The boy’s face is painted in solid black, his hair and attire in transparency with individual brush strokes visible. The bracketed bust-line is consistent with other examples of his work. His silhouettes are typically backed with card and presented within a verre églomisé surround which is in this instance finely painted in gold. … (show more)

Thomas Johnson (Unrecorded & Rarely Seen Silhouette Artists – No. 3)

19th January 2016

Though Thomas Johnson of Harrogate was first listed as a silhouettist in Silhouette by Mrs Jackson (1938), very few examples of his work are known even today. The Victoria & Albert Museum in London holds two silhouettes of ladies by him, and a gentleman was sold in 1995 as part of the Christie Collection. These are all illustrated in British Silhouette Artists and their Work by Sue McKechnie (1978). This further example of a stylish but unnamed lady has recently come to light. It was previously sold by Sotheby’s in May 1977 when it fetched the top silhouette price of the day.

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W. M. YOUNG (Unrecorded & Rarely Seen Silhouette Artists – No. 2)

18th January 2016

W. M. Young was first recorded as a silhouettist by Mrs Jackson in 1911 on the strength of a single signed full-length profile of a lady dated 1836. In The Art of Silhouette (1913), Desmond Coke mentions “a delicious study in dark green and white of a girl with all her dainty laces shown in touches so light … signed W.M. Young del, 1836” in the collection of Madame Dorotti of Ebury Street and speculates that it is the work of a young lady taught the art of silhouette painting at a ladies’ seminary.

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Jones’ Gallery of Art (Unrecorded & Rarely Seen Silhouette Artists – No. 1)

12th January 2016

Jones’ Gallery of Art is hitherto unrecorded as a silhouette studio and only a couple of examples of their work has previously been noted including a profile of a lady with a dog that was sold by a London salesroom many years ago. So to discover two further profiles that are clearly a pair, albeit that only one of them is stamped, is an opportunity to study the characteristics of the artist’s style and so perhaps enable other unmarked profiles to be reliably attributed to the Gallery.

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