Mythical Bird

Augustin Edouart


Augustin Edouart (1789-1861) is best known for his full-length cut silhouettes of people often grouped together in conversation pieces complete with the family pet. What is perhaps less known, is that Edouart also liked to experiment when cutting. In 1835 he created 38 cut tableaux for an exhibition including a couple of ‘extraordinary compositions’ featuring goblins frolicking and fanciful figures such as a flying skeleton, a demon with a wooden leg playing a violin and ‘hideous monsters of various shapes’. Edouart described his completed exhibition pictures at length in his Treatise on Silhouette Likenesses (1835).

It is not known if any of these exhibition pictures have survived so our knowledge of them is currently limited to his personal description of them and to his miniature practice cuttings that he preserved in an archive scrapbook which has miraculously survived.

Edouart’s scrapbook surfaced a few years ago in a Parisian bookstore and is the source of this fantastic little creature dressed in a coat and cravat complete with a staff. The cut silhouette has been loosely placed on antique hand-made paper within an old daguerreotype frame with a decorative mount. There is light wear to the edges and a scuff on the reverse of the frame as well as blemishes to the old glass but this all adds to the unique charm of this small piece.

Item Ref. 6171

Size: framed, 75 x 62mm (3 x 2½")