Samuel Metford


Little Emily is shown standing on a garden terrace proudly clutching her fashionably dressed doll. She herself is wearing a short-sleeved dress with a full skirt and buttoned bootees. Beyond the stone balustrade with its magnificent pedestal urn is a garden landscape with trees and a folly.

The silhouette is cut out with pencil and Chinese white highlights and set on a lithograph background. It is signed and dated ‘Saml Metford fecit / Manchester Ma 16 1841’ with the child’s name alongside. In fine condition, the silhouette resides in a period maple veneer frame with a (slightly tarnished) gilt slip.

Born into the Quaker community, Samuel Metford (1810-1896) travelled to the United States as a young man to work on his brother’s fruit farm. He settled in well making a good impression with his cut silhouette work; his work inspired a Connecticut poet, James Gates Percival, to pen a few verses about him –

A chiel is here whose business ’tis,
Why what? To cut your faces!
And who’d believe it? What he cuts
He never once defaces.

Metford was back in England by 1841, the date of this silhouette. He did not marry and lived at the family home with his then blind father until the latter’s death in 1863. Thereafter Metford lodged in boarding houses taking frequent excursions on the Bristol steamer and indulging his interest in military affairs and regiments. He died in 1896 at the age of 85 after a short illness whilst lodging in Weston-super-Mare.

Item Ref. 4287

Size: framed, 360 x 278mm (14ΒΌ x 11")