Mob Cap or Mad Hair?

John Smith of Edinburgh


It’s debatable as to whether this lady is wearing a soft mob-cap on the back of her head or whether she has arranged her hair in a precarious top knot. She also has a double ruff collar to her dress.

This silhouette is distinctive for being painted on convex plaster moulded to fit the glass. This technique was uniquely practised by John Smith of Edinburgh who worked as a silhouette artist for about ten years from the mid 1780s. Prior to that he created hair jewellery.

The plaster has a couple of pin hole dimples not affecting the painted profile. It is presented in a traditional papier-mâché frame with an acorn hanger.

Item Ref. 5937

Size: framed, 143 x 124mm (5½ x 4⅞")