Mary Perceval

Mrs Smyth, 1836


This neatly cut and bronzed bust-length silhouette depicts Mary Perceval as a 5-year-old child wearing a dress with puff sleeves and a Peter Pan collar. It is signed under the bust-line ‘Mrs Smyth 40 Strand del. 1836’ and is housed with a gilt metal mount in what appears to be the original papier-mâché frame with an acorn hanger. The child’s name and age is inscribed reverse.

Mary Perceval was born in 1831 in Calverton, a small village in Buckinghamshire where her father was the local Rector. In the 1861 Census, aged 30, she remains single and is living at the family home with her widowed mother and younger brother. In 1865 she marries the Rev. Richard Norris Russell and with his has four children. Her brother meanwhile has become the Earl of Egmont having inherited the title from his uncle who died without issue.

Little is known about Mrs Edward Smyth whose husband manufactured flutes. Before managing her own studio she worked in partnership with another silhouette artist, Joshua Trewinnard. Her profiles are accomplished and well finished.

Item Ref. 9131TS

Size: framed, 178 x 155mm (7 x 6⅛")

Provenance: UK Private Collection