Elegance in Simplicity

John Miers


These splendid silhouettes show a fashionable Georgian couple: the gentleman, facing right, in a bound pigtail wig wears a frock coat and a frilled chemise; the lady, facing left, wears a puffed-out buffon to cover her décolletage and a frothy hat generously trimmed with ribbons.

Preferring as he did the simplicity and elegance of an unembellished black profile, these ‘shades’ typify John Miers’ best work. Painted on white plaster using a mixture of soot and beer to create a contrastingly deep black, details such as the gentleman’s frill and the lady’s ribbons were achieved by thinning and blending in the black pigment.

The silhouettes are set in their original turned pearwood frames with verre eglomise mounts and are each backed with the artist’s trade label no. 10 (slightly incomplete). This label is associated with Miers’ finest work when he had just set up his London studio at 162 Strand, also home to Mr Middleton’s Pencil Manufactory. Miers worked here between December 1788 and May 1791 thereby dating these profiles to that narrow period.

The silhouettes are in fine original condition and would be a first class addition to any good collection of silhouettes.

Item Ref. 7404

Size: framed, 173 x 143mm (6¾ x 4⅝")