Cyrus Slater Lomas

Peter Skeolan


This poignant silhouette depicts Cyrus Slater Lomas at the tender age of 1 year and 8 months. He is shown outdoors holding a toy whip and wearing an ankle-length coat with a caped collar and tasseled cap. It is unclear whether this profile was cut from life or from recollection as sadly Cyrus died around this time.

Born in May 1841 at Ardwick Green in Lancashire, Cyrus died in January 1843. His death was announced in the Manchester Courier ‘… after a short affliction, Cyrus Slater Lomas aged 1 year 8 months & 3 days, only child of Mr Thomas Lomas, corn factor of Ardwick Green’.

His parents, Thomas and Mary, must have been heartbroken. They went on to have four daughters and no more sons. The name Cyrus came from his mother’s side of the family: she had a little brother Cyrus, born in 1820 who died in 1823, as did her mother. Following her father’s re-marriage, she then had a step-brother named Cyrus born in 1824 who died in 1825. Despite having been an old family name for generations, ‘Cyrus’ had apparently by the 19th century become an unlucky omen for a child.

The silhouette is cut out, gilded and laid on card with a watercolour wash base. It is stamped on the reverse with the artist’s stencil – P. Skeolan / Artist – and is set in the original rosewood frame with a gilt slip.

Born in Galway in 1815, Peter Skeolan was an itinerant artist working mostly in the north of England. The 1841 Census places him in Leeds working as a painter, by 1851 he is a miniature painter and profilist in Liverpool, by 1861 he is settled in Cheltenham as a miniature painter and photographer and in 1871 he is back north in Leeds working as a painter and photographer. He and his wife Margaret had two children: Peter Paul who joined the family photography business and Mary Jane. Skeolan died in Leeds in December 1871.

Item Ref. 7110

Size: framed, 282 x 230mm (11 x 9")

Provenance: By family descent