Profile of an Elegant Lady

Cut by Augustin Edouart in 1838


Cut silhouette of an elegant lady by the esteemed cutter, Augustin Edouart (1789-1861). Lithograph background; signed and dated 1838.

As an ex-Bonapartist claiming asylum in Britain, Augustin Edouart set himself up as a shopkeeper in Cheltenham specialising in French and fancy goods but unfortunately the enterprise was declared bankrupt in May 1826 and he needed to find an alternative way to support his family. Quite by chance he discovered, when challenged by a friend at a dinner-party, that he had a natural aptitude for cutting likenesses out of paper, so much so that he thereafter made a successful career of it. He toured extensively throughout the British Isles for several years cutting many thousands of profiles including well-known figures of the day, many of them authors, musicians, politicians and even royalty. In 1839 he set sail for America where he toured successfully for a decade before deciding to retire to his native France. He nearly didn’t make it though as his ship went down in a storm off Guernsey. Fortunately the passengers were all rescued but Edouart lost virtually the whole of his precious archive of work and the will to continue to work commercially thereafter.

Item Ref. 5345

Size: framed, 352 x 264mm (14 x 10½")