Boy in a Skeleton Suit

John Field


This is an engaging example of a bronzed silhouette painted on plaster by John Field. The young, unnamed boy is shown wearing a skeleton suit with two rows of tiny buttons running down the front over a frilled chemise with a standing collar. Skeleton suits were popular attire for boys aged between four and seven during the last decade of the eighteenth century and remaining in fashion for at least thirty years.

The silhouette is housed in the original papier-mâché frame with a decorative surround (a little tarnished ) and a leaf hanger. It is backed with the artist’s trade label (no. 12 ‘Double-letter’). This label was used between about 1810 and 1821, a period that is recognised as being Field’s heyday.

The silhouette is in excellent condition with just a little light dust under the glass, only visible when viewing with a loupe.

Ranking amongst the finest silhouette artists of his day, John Field began his career as an assistant to John Miers during the 1790s. Theirs was to be a long and prolific partnership lasting until the death of Miers in 1821 when the business was jointly willed to Field and Miers’ son William. Field excelled at bronzing and his work in this area was unequalled.

Item Ref. 5839

Size: framed, 149 x 124mm (5⅞ x 4⅞")