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Item Ref. 5127


This is a charming and colourful silhouette of a child with a toy whip. Probably a little boy, he is depicted wearing a pretty knee-length red and grey checked dress with a scalloped waistline and sleeves and gold buttons on the bodice. Frilly drawers are visible under the wide skirt and he has white socks and little strapped shoes.

The silhouette is painted in watercolour with gilding used to detail the hair. It is housed in a nicely patinated flat profile bird's eye maple frame. The silhouette is in excellent clean condition. The frame has some old chips to the veneer on the top right corner.

Size: framed, 93/8 x 7½" (240 x 190mm)

S O L D !

Painted silhouette of a little boy with a toy whip

Cut and painted silhouette of two named children

Original inscription on the reverse of a cut and painted silhouette of children

Item Ref. 5137


This is a delightful cut and painted silhouette of two young children: two-year old Richard Baggalay and his baby brother, Henry Charles. Richard, who is strangely holding a potted plant with a red flower, is wearing a royal blue dress with buttons down the front and short lace-edged sleeves. He also has little white socks and black shoes with ankle straps. Henry Charles is lying a large red cushion and is clutching an ivory teething ring. He is wearing a grey dress trimmed with lace and has sweet little laced bootees.

The silhouette is inscribed on the reverse: "Miss Baggalay from her nephews / Richard Baggalay / & Henry Charles Baggalay / Worthing. Augst 21st 1849. This inscription has been copied and pasted to the backing board of the frame.

Richard Baggalay was born in November 1847. He was a graduate of Caius College, Cambridge.

The silhouette is cut out and then painted in watercolour using deep red, vibrant blue and shades of grey with touches of white. The silhouette is presented in a bird's eye maple frame with a gilt slip. It is in good condition with slight age-browning to the background paper consistent with age.

Size: framed, 10½ x 12¼" (270 x 308mm)

S O L D !

Item Ref. 5158

ROYAL VICTORIA GALLERY, post 1837 - circa 1854

This is a finely cut and gilded silhouette conversation piece showing three unnamed siblings in an outdoor landscape with hills and trees. The young lady in the middle is looking sophisticated in a calf-length dress with a pointed waist-line and wide skirt over lace-edged drawers, and is holding a posy of cut flowers. The oldest boy is looking studious with his open book and is wearing a wide-collared shirt with a short jacket and trousers and has dainty bows on his square-toed shoes. The youngest child has a toy wheelbarrow and is attired in a pretty caped coat tied at the neck with a bow and worn over plain drawers with white socks and buttoned boots.

The silhouette is cut-out with well-executed gilding and Chinese white highlights. It is not signed but is clearly by the hand of the Frith brothers of the Royal Victoria Gallery. It is housed in what appears to be the original reeded oak frame with a gilt slip and old glass.

The silhouette presents well but there are a couple of condition issues to mention: old gum marks are visible along the base with some surface loss where a previous owner has attempted to remove the gum just below the girl's feet. There is also a closed tear in the girl's skirt. This must have been torn and repaired by the silhouette artist whilst originally cutting it as the damage does not extend to the background card and is a reminder of how delicate and skilled the art of cutting profiles is.

Size: framed, 12¼ x 143/8" (313 x 368mm)

S O L D !

The Royal Victoria Gallery was run by three members of the Frith family: brothers, Henry Albert & Frederick, and their father, John. The Gallery advertised themselves as 'PAPRYOTOMISTS to His Late as well as to her present Most Gracious Majesty'. They toured extensively throughout England and Ireland during the 1830s and 1840s producing highly finished work. When the introduction of photography threatened their livelihood, the brothers embraced the new technology and opened a Photographics Studio.

Cut and gilded silhouette conversation piece by the Royal Victoria Gallery

Cut and gilded silhouette conversation piece by the Royal Victoria Gallery

Painted silhouette converstaion piece of an unknown family

Painted silhouette converstaion piece of an unknown family

One of the daughters holding the family pet dog

Item Ref. 4862

BRITISH SCHOOL, circa 1840

Silhouette conversation pieces are always special and this one is certainly no exception. It depicts a mother with her seven children gathered around her. The father is not present - perhaps he was off on a military campaign or away on business. Left to right the family comprises: the eldest daughter, looking sophisticated with her hair swept back in a plaited knot with long side ringlets, is holding the musical score for her little brother who, wearing a tunic, white pantaloons and heeled boots, is perching on an upholstered stool and is playing the violin; overlooking him is another teenage daughter, her hair looped and swept back, she holds a very cute little dog under her arm; behind her are two younger girls in matching dresses both reaching out towards the baby with bare feet being nursed by the mother as she sits comfortably in a bergere armchair; and finally, the eldest boy standing protectively behind his mother's chair with a walking cane in his hand.

The silhouette is painted on card with gum arabic used to highlight the details of the clothes and gilding for the gold jewellery and for everyone's hair, including that of the dog. The dress collars and frills are delicately painted in transparent white.

The unpainted area has some age-browning (though it's not as intrusive as the top images suggests) with some scattered spotting. The right hand edge of the paper is slightly wrinkled along the frame edge. Overall though the piece is in good condition. It is housed in the original flat profile birds' eye maple veneer frame.

Size: framed, 21 x 25¾" (535 x 642mm)

Price: £1,700

Mother nursing her youngest baby

Item Ref. 4867


This is an interesting pair of eighteenth century profiles painted by a young lady whose career as a silhouette artist was illustrious but short-lived. The silhouettes portray two young Scottish sisters, Janet and Anne Ramsay from Barnton near Edinburgh. Janet is shown with mid-length hair and is wearing a dress decorated with small ribbon bows on the corsage and shoulder. The profile of Anne is more finely painted with greater detail including an eyelash. Her long hair is attractively arranged in a long plait decorated with ribbon bows and she has a delicate frill on her corsage.

Both silhouettes are painted on plaster, one surface having been more smoothly prepared than the other. They are housed in the original matching brass-faced frames. One frame - that housing Janet - is backed with the artist's unbroken trade label.

Unbroken trade label on the reverse of Janet Ramsay

The silhouettes are in good overall condition. There is a short crack on the underside of the glass (just about at 12 o'clock) covering Anne and dust under the glass of the other one.

Size: framed, 4¾ x 3¾" (120 x 98mm)

Price: £750

It was an eight-month stay by John Miers in 1785 at her mother’s house in Liverpool that prompted Mary Lightfoot to paint silhouettes in a similar style. She travelled to Glasgow and Edinburgh where she apparently exhibited some of Miers’ work as her own prompting Miers to take out an advertisement to publicise the scam and to denounce her work.

Rare silhouette by Miss Mary Lightfoot

Rare silhouette by Miss Mary Lightfoot

Painted silhouette using colour of a lady

Item Ref. 4899

Attributed to GEORGE ANGELO CROWHURST, active 1827-1844

This is an attractive and detailed painted silhouette of a lady seated on a Regency dining chair with swept legs next to a small pedestal table on which stands a glass vase of colourful flowers. She is wearing a dress with voluminous 'gigot' sleeves and a white lace pelèrine collar, together with a neat lace cap tied under the chin with ribbon. The style of dress dates the profile to the mid to late 1830s. A label on the reverse names the lady as Elizabeth Crisp who died in 1884 at the age of seventy-four.

The silhouette is painted on card in watercolour heightened with gum arabic and with a touch of gilding along the edge of the chair seat. It is unsigned and is attributed to Crowhurst on stylistic grounds. There is some craquelure to the gum arabic (mostly only visible using a glass); otherwise the profile is in good condition. It is presented in the original handsomely figured bird's eye maple frame with a gilt slip.

Size: framed, 13¾ x 11¾" (350 x 298mm)

S O L D !

George Angelo Crowhurst worked mostly in and around the popular resort of Brighton. Some of his profiles were cut, others were painted and the use of colour, especially Wedgwood blue, is a known characteristic of his work.

Item Ref. 4953

AUSTRO-GERMAN SCHOOL early 19th century

This jewellery piece holds an early 19th century silhouette of a gentleman. The detailing to the profile include strands of wavy hair, a bushy eyebrow and an eyelash. The profile is reverse painted on flat glass in black against a gold background within an attractive floral border.

The silhouette is set in the original gilt metal pendant frame with a solid back. Internally the frame has been padded out with card bearing German text.

Size: framed, 34mm diameter

Price: £140

Continental jewllery silhouette in a oendant frame

Hollow-cut silhouette by Sarah Harrington

Item Ref. 4937

SARAH HARRINGTON active 1772-1787

This is a most attractive hollow-cut silhouette of a young lady wearing a wide-brimmed hat tilted forwards with ribbons streamers at the back. She also has a ribbon necklace tied in a neat bow at the nape of her neck. The style of her hat and necklace dates the portrait to the early to mid 1770s.

Very few British artists favoured the hollow-cut method in the late 18th century and this profile has all the hallmarks of Mrs Harrington's early work including the defined eyelash and the shape of the bust-line. It is set in brass-faced frame with a twisted rope design and a crenelated inner border. The frame has been over-painted in black; this was sometimes carried out as a mourning ritual when the sitter in a portrait died.

Size: framed, 53/8 x 4½" (140 x 110mm)

Price: £275

Mrs Sarah Harrington was well-educated and supported the education of women, even giving geography lessons to young ladies. It appears that she took up silhouette cutting in later life and over a period of twelve to fourteen years worked in all the major English cities, successfully patenting her method of producing profiles in 1775. Early examples of her work were never signed.

Item Ref. 4972


This is a bust-length silhouette on glass depicting a mature lady wearing a buffon and a striking soft-crowned hat trimmed front and back with ribbon bows.

The silhouette is reverse painted on a rectangular piece of flat glass and has Rosenberg's typical bust-line. It is set off by a surround painted in gold and black and is unusual in that it is backed with blue chalk-surfaced paper as opposed to the more commonly found pink paper.

The silhouette is set in a period giltwood frame that could well be original to the piece. It is backed with Mr Rosenberg's trade label no. 3 that was in use during the 1790s.

Size: framed, 6 x 5" (153 x 121mm)

Price: £425

Austrian-born, Charles Rosenberg is believed to have come to England as one of the entourage accompanying Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz when she arrived in 1761 to marry King George III. This connection may explain why he enjoyed royal and aristocratic patronage throughout his career. Rosenberg settled in Bath where he eventually married in 1790. He was one of the most successful silhouette artists of the period.

Silhouertte on glass by Charles Rosenberg

Trade label for Charles Rosenberg

Cut and painted silhouette of three children attributed to Beaumont of Cheltenham

Cut and painted silhouette of three children attributed to Beaumont of Cheltenham

Item Ref. 4837

Attributed to W. DYCE BEAUMONT

This charming cut and painted silhouette portrays three young children in a garden setting. The children are all dressed in a rich claret colour which is particularly striking. The youngest child is wearing a short-sleeved dress and a coral beaded necklace. She is carrying a basket of cut flowers and is holding a pink rose. The middle child is wearing a dress with long sleeves with ruffles on the shoulder and is holding a leather-bound book. The tallest child, possibly a boy, appears to be wearing an ankle-length coat, again richly coloured, together with a white cape with a ruff collar. All three are wearing flat shoes secured by ties.

The silhouette is cut out and then painted in watercolour with gilt highlights on the hair. The background is painted in sepia watercolour. It is unsigned and is attributed to Beaumont on stylistic grounds most significantly the use of unusual colours for which Beaumont was renowned. The background card has age toning but overall the silhouette is in fine condition. It is handsomely presented in a flat profile maple frame with a gilt slip.

Size: framed, 13¾ x 11½" (351 x 292mm)

Price: £480

W. Dyce Beaumont worked during the 1830s and 1840s. Although sometimes dubbed 'Beaumont of Cheltenham', very little is actually known about him. His work though is critically acclaimed as 'among the finest of the period'.

Item Ref. 4473


LOST on Monday between Old Town Street & Union St,
a purse containing sovereigns...

This unusual silhouette is a posthumous portrait of William Tucker town crier of Plymouth, a position he held for thirty-five years. Dressed in his regalia of gilt-edged cloak and tricorn hat, and carrying two bells, he would have a prominent figure on the streets. On this particular day he is advertising the lose of a purse containing sovereigns. No doubt there would have been a reward offered for its safe return.

A bell man or town crier spread the news at a time when many people could not read newspapers. The tradition dates back to the sixteenth century when Chester's first bell man was paid one penny for 'going for anything that is lost' and four pennies for leading a funeral procession. An article in the Exeter and Plymouth Gazette on 12 July 1828 records how the town crier (possibly William Tucker) gave notice that Henry Broom (described as "a wretch in human shape") was intending to auction his wife. He subsequently sold her for one pound, much to the crowd's anger and a riot broke out.

The silhouette is painted and has a watercolour border. It is signed and dated August 1850 on the reverse. The artist was probably a relative of the sitter. The silhouette is also inscribed along the bottom edge - WILLIAM TUCKER / Died Novr 1st, 1848. Aged 79. Being Town crier of the Borough of Plymouth 35 Years. The silhouette is set in the original dark wood frame.

watercolour inscription on a painted silhouette of the Plymouth town crier

Size: framed, 147/8 x 133/8" (380 x 338mm)

Price: £550

Painted silhouette of the Plymouth town crier

Signature on the reverse

Painted silhouette of the Plymouth town crier

John Miers, silhouette on ivory

Item Ref. 4240

JOHN MIERS, 1758-1821

This is an eighteenth century silhouette of a gentleman wearing a 'physical' wig, a style of wig much favoured by the professional and learned gentlemen of the day and which dates the profile to around 1770.

The silhouette is painted on ivory and is signed Miers under the bust-line. It is set in the original ebonised frame.

Framed size: 4¾ x 4¼" (120 x 105mm)

Price: £320

Although he never trained professionally, John Miers is considered to be the finest of the 18th century silhouettists. His career began in Leeds when he took over his father's business as a coach-painter & gilder. Having recently married, Miers was keen to expand the business and, in addition to preparing and selling paints, he advertised profile shades in miniature for 2s. 6d. each. He clearly excelled at this from the start as within a few years this had become his main line of business and prompted Miers to move his family first to Edinburgh and eventually to London where he ran a busy and successful studio at the Strand.

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Cynthia McKinley
Wigs on the Green Fine Art, York
Tel. +44 (0)1904 794711             Mobile: 07962 257915
Email: enquiries@wigsonthegreen.co.uk