The Stracey Children

Frederick Frith, 1846


This charming and well-detailed silhouette shows two young Scottish children from the Stracey family. The little girl, holding on to her bonnet, is wearing a fringed cape, a dress with a pleated skirt and buttoned bootees. Her older brother, also holding his tasseled cap, is wearing a tunic over pantaloons with a buttoned-up jacket and a traditional tartan fly plaid buckled on his shoulder.

An inscription on the backing board of the frame names the children as Hardinge Richard and Julia Clifton Stracey. Both children were born in India in 1840 and 1843 respectively to Hardinge Robert Stracey and his wife Barbara Elizabeth (née Robertson). Their father worked for the East India Company as a session judge in Ahmedabad. His early death in 1844 would have prompted the family to return home to London. Hardinge Richard joined the military rising through the ranks to become Lieutenant-Colonel. He married in 1883, was father to six children and was 83 when he died in 1924. Julia also had a long life; she died unmarried in 1928 at the age of 85.

Signed by Frederick Frith and dated 1846, the silhouette was cut and gilded when Frederick and his brother Henry, founders of the Royal Victoria Gallery, were working in Scotland. The Gallery advertised themselves as ‘PAPRYOTOMISTS to His Late as well as to her present Most Gracious Majesty’. They toured extensively throughout the British Isles during the 1830s and 1840s producing highly finished work. When the introduction of Photography threatened their livelihood, the brothers embraced the new technology and opened a Photographics Studio.

The silhouette is in fine condition and is presented in a bird’s eye maple frame with old glass. There is some old loss to the veneer on the edges of the top right corner but otherwise the frame is in good condition.

Item Ref. 6580

Size: framed, 250 x 205mm (9¾ x 8")