Billy Bain

Taken in Edinburgh


This unusual silhouette has been inspired by a woodcut profile of Billy Bain included in Characters in Profile of 42 Individuals Well Known in their Own Town published in Liverpool around 1830. The authorship of this collection has not been established though the portraits are reminiscent of John Dempsey’s style.

The illustration of Billy Bain within the booklet is captioned:

Billy Bain, a regular Bill Sticker who, by being longer in the profession, considers all junior practitioners as interlopers infringing upon his vested rights to placard dead walls and corners of streets. Billy lost his leg in the service and enjoys a pension from government, if enjoyment it can be called, to get uproariously drunk every time he receives it.

Painted on lightweight paper, the silhouette is presented in an unusually large pressed brass frame. It has some inevitable age-browning with a single brown spot to the background.

Item Ref. 6907

Size: framed oval, 252 x 218mm (9¾ x 8½")