The Long Pigtail

Charles Rosenberg


This striking bust-length silhouette shows a gentleman in a wig with a long pigtail queue tied with ribbon in a style that is typical of the 1790s. He is wearing a coat with prominent buttons over a frilled chemise.

One of Rosenberg’s larger-sized black profiles painted in a pigment composed of pine-soot and small-beer, it is reverse painted on flat glass backed with laid paper. The silhouette is housed in the original hammered brass frame backed with the artist’s trade label no. 2 complete with the Royal coat of arms.

Austrian-born, Charles Rosenberg (1745-1844) is thought to have come to England in 1761 as a fourteen year old page to Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz when she arrived to marry King George III. As a favourite of the King’s, Rosenberg was promoted from page to King’s Messenger and this connection likely explains why he enjoyed royal and aristocratic patronage throughout his artistic career. In 1816 he was invited, along with his son, to paint a likeness of Princess Charlotte a few day’s prior to her marriage. Rosenberg settled in Bath marrying Elizabeth Woolley at Bath Abbey in September 1790. Living close to the fashionable ‘Walks’ and Assembly Rooms, Rosenberg becoming one of the most successful silhouettists of the period. He also offered drawing lessons for complete beginners.

Item Ref. 7486

Size: framed, 168 x 140mm (6⅝ x 5½")