Curls and Ribbons

John Miers


Ranking amongst the top profilists working during the eighteenth century, John Miers favoured the simplicity and grace of a pure black profile without gilt embellishment, the blackness contrasting starkly with the white base. Finer costume details were achieved by thinning the pigment to add texture and transparency.

This jewel silhouette shows an elegant lady wearing a dress with a stiffly frilled fichu. Her curled hair is arranged in a banging chignon and secured with a ribbon bow. The silhouette is signed Miers under the bust-line and is set within a painted surround in a gold navette-shaped frame, the reverse with an aperture filled with plaited brown hair. The frame has a (bent) ring for wearing as a pendant and a later brooch clasp fitting.

The silhouette is in fine condition. The glass has scratches and imperfections which can be seen in the photos. The reverse side of the frame has some dings.

John Miers (1758-1821) initially advertised ‘profile shades in miniature’ in 1781 at a cost of 2s 6d apiece. These were secondary to his main business of preparing and selling paints but such was the success of his profile painting, that he auctioned off his stock of paints and utensils to become a full-time profilist travelling from his home town of Leeds to other major towns and cities to reach a wider clientele. In 1791 Miers made the move to London where he set up what was to become a highly successful and long-running profile studio on the Strand.

Item Ref. TS9034

Size: 45 x 29mm