A Veiled Head Dress

John Miers

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Leeds-born silhouette artist John Miers (1758-1821) did not believe in using any embellishment on his silhouettes preferring the simplicity and grace of a black profile. He used a mixture of soot and beer to create a deep black that contrasted well with the stark white of the plaster base. Details, such this lady’s veiled head dress and long curled hair, were achieved by thinning the black pigment and blending it into the plaster to add texture.

This ‘shade’ is typical of Miers’ best work. Painted on plaster, the silhouette is set in the original oval  hammered brass frame and is backed with the artist’s trade label no. 10. This label is associated with Miers’s finest work when he had just set up his London studio at 162 Strand, also home to Mr Middleton’s Pencil Manufactory. He worked here between December 1788 and May 1791 thereby dating this profile to that period.

Item Ref. 7198

Size: framed, 120 x 100mm

Provenance: Sue McKechnie's Collection, No. 47

Literature: British Silhouette Artists and their Work 1760-1860, p. 660