The Mysterious B. Hunt

16th June 2023

Silhouette painted on glass by B. Hunt

This silhouette was purchased a few years ago in the belief that it was by Jolliffe who was active during the mid to late eighteenth century and who, in addition to cutting, painted half-length profiles on flat glass. He used a needle to scratch out the sitter’s hair and set the profile within a decorative border. These elements are all present in this profile.

Upon opening the frame, it therefore came as a surprise to find a torn proof sheet of a trade label for another unknown artist tucked inside as padding. That artist is the mysterious Mr B. Hunt. No record of him has been traced and yet his work is every bit as competent as the leading profilists of the day. The text of the label does not add much enlightenment –

  • Striking Likenesses
    In Profile on Glass
    By B. Hunt.
    Ladies & Gentlemen
    waited on by sending
    their Address to

Silhouette painted on glass by B. Hunt

The absence of an address suggests that B. Hunt was an itinerant artist without a permanent studio.

Should any reader have come across B. Hunt as a silhouette artist or have a similar profile in their collection, do get in touch as it would be pleasing to give due credit to this hitherto unknown artist.

Amos Clitherall, Painter & Decorator

9th April 2021

Despite the continuing popularity of silhouettes during the first quarter of the nineteenth century, many profilists were not able to make a good living as artists and thus needed a second occupation. So it was with Amos Clitherall whose painted silhouettes have recently come to light.

Amos Clitherall, silhouettist

© Private Collection

The silhouettes are dated 1826 when Amos was 23 years old. They are neatly painted in black watercolour with grey highlights and tiny touches of gilding to bring out the hair and costume details. Both profiles have a distinctively rounded termination line. Strangely a duplicate pair of these silhouettes has been seen with a slightly different trade label –

Amos Clitherall, silhouettist

Amos Clitherall, silhouettist

Amos spent his entire working life in Liverpool. He married Anne Baines in 1833 and with her had four children, one girl dying in infancy. Local directories list Amos Clitherall as a painter and wallpaper hanger initially based at Kent Square and then, from 1846, at Great George Street. It seems likely that he took over a family or existing business as the 1851 Census lists him as a ‘Master Painter’ employing 32 men. No wonder he no longer had the time or inclination to paint silhouettes!

Amos died in April 1860 at the age of 57 leaving a widow and three unmarried children. Both his sons, Richard and Amos, were by then trained painters and wallpaper hangers so they would have been able to take over the business.

Given the competency of these silhouettes and the existence of printed trade labels, it seems strange that further examples of his work have not (yet) come to light. Should any reader have in their collection any profiles by Amos Clitheroe, please do get in touch.

William Angelo Grey

1st November 2020

Cut and gilded silhouette by William Angelo Grey

Previously unrecorded as a silhouettist or indeed as an artist, William Angelo Grey nonetheless claimed to be a Royal Academician. It looked impressive in his advertisements as did his middle name which may also have been assumed as a marketing ploy!

At the time of writing, William Angelo Grey is known from a single silhouette dated 1848 and three advertisements that appeared in Irish newspapers in Sligo and Boyle between September 1844 and March 1845.

In his adverts, Grey offered a range of artwork including highly finished oil portraits, miniatures on ivory, crayon likenesses and shades (both bronzed and plain). His prices ranged accordingly from a steep £100 to just 1s. He also offered lessons for amateurs in drawing and watercolour painting.

His Life & Work

Nothing is known of Grey’s background and no genealogical records have been traced. The single known example of his work is accomplished and makes good use of props. He makes extensive use of bronzing which is neatly applied.

Should further examples of his portraiture emerge, more may yet be discovered about the mysterious William Angelo Grey.

Jones’ Gallery of Art

12th May 2020

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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