The Lockhart Sisters

Augustin Edouart, 1830


Jane MacNeill and Elizabeth MacDonald Lockhart were the two eldest children born in 1807 and 1811 respectively to Norman Lockhart, a Scottish lawyer, and his wife Philadelphia Barbara (née McMurdo) of Blackwood House in Dumfrieshire.

Jane is shown holding a flower and is standing before a draped window in a carpeted drawing room furnished with an upright cabinet piano. Elizabeth is holding an eye glass on a ribbon and is likewise standing in a carpeted drawing room with a chaise longue and a covered table displaying a vase of flowers and a tea caddy. The open window reveals a mountainous view with trees and a waterfall.

Jane went on to marry Frank Walker, a lead merchant in Liverpool where she lived until her death in 1885. Elizabeth meanwhile married Eaglefield Bradshaw Smith on the Isle of Man in 1838. The couple had four children. Elizabeth died at Davos Platz in Switzerland in 1888.

The silhouettes are both cut out and laid on sepia watercolour backgrounds. They are both signed ‘Augn Edouart fecit 1830’ and are inscribed reverse with the sitter’s name. They both have the artist’s trade label reverse annotated with the artist’s studio address in central Edinburgh of No. 72 Princes Street. The label reveals that the cost of these profiles would have been 5 shillings each with ‘families taken at their Residences’.

The silhouettes are unframed. Edouart had a preferred style of frame for his full-length silhouettes and always carried a supply of flat profile bird’s eye maple frames for which he charged extra. The ladies may though have wanted to chose their own style of frames though there is no evidence that the silhouettes were ever framed. They have both suffered age-darkening and light scuffing with some wrinkling to the tail of both dresses. All this will become less apparent once the ladies are finally framed. There is a surface scuff on Elizabeth (by the waterfall) and she may have lost part of the ribbon on her eyeglass.

Finding himself exiled in England with a wife and young family to support, Augustin Edouart (1789-1861), opened a shop in Cheltenham selling French curios and artificial flowers but the venture was short-lived and a bankruptcy notice was published in May 1826. He had also tried his hand at creating pictures of animals and landscapes out of hair. These found favour with HRH the Duchess of York who commissioned portraits of her beloved dogs. The work was, however, time-consuming and so failed to be cost-effective. But all was not lost, as Edouart discovered that he had an aptitude for cutting silhouettes and, third time lucky, this venture proved hugely successful. He spent the next fifteen years travelling around the British Isles cutting many thousands of profiles including many authors, musicians, politicians and royalty before setting sail to the United States where again he found favour and success.

Item Ref. 6666

Size: 280 x 184mm (11 x 7¼")

Literature: Ancestors in Silhouette (1921), p.148