Wednesday








Silhouettes from a recent Auction Recent Skinner auction contained a nice assortment of silhouettes. I only saved the photos of the ones I thought were interesting. Obviously, this was a collection formed by one individual. Some were genuine. Others were obviously not. There were a few with questions. (Please do keep in mind that the following assessment is only my opinion.) The prices went begging on most. These prices do not include buyer’s fees. All images belong to Skinner.

Photo #1
These three silhouettes are in nice period frames from what I can see.
“Three Silhouette Portraits, America, early 19th century, hollow cut bust-length portraits backed with black fabric housed in period molded giltwood frames, including a portrait of a gentleman by T.P. Jones, with embossed signature "T.P. Jones Fecit" 4 1/4x 3 1/4 in., in a ; one of a woman, by Charles Willson Peale, with embossed eagle and "Peales Museum" mark, 5 x 4 in.; the last portraying a young gentleman, with an indistinct embossed maker's mark, the backing paper with a paper label indicating it was once in the collection Elizabeth L. Maurier, 4 3/4 x 4 in.”

All three silhouettes are NOT 19th century; they are 20th century. The trio brought $200. Maurier collection contained a lot of fakes.

Photo #2
This pair brought $175.
“Two Silhouette Portraits, America, early 19th century, both hollow cut bust-length portraits, housed in period oval molded wood frames, one portraying a gentleman backed with black paper, by T.P. Jones with embossed mark, (toning, crease u.l.), 4 x 3 in.; the other of a young boy with black fabric backing, (toning, stains), 4 x 3 1/4 in.”

This type of cutting on the right are offered from time to time. I do not know whose work this is. The Jones, however, on the left is his telltale image. This is a no-question Jones.

Photo #3
“Pair of Silhouette Portraits of Zilpha and Stephen Longfellow, cut by William King, New England, (active 1804-1806), hollow cut bust-length portraits backed with black silk, embossed "W KING" l.c., 4 1/2 x 3 1/2 in., in oval molded sheet brass frames. Condition: Minor toning and foxing, crease along bottoms.”

I cannot see the embossment, but with this pair, I do no have to see it. This man and the woman are a classic example of his work. The pair bought $300, which is very reasonable.

Photo #4
“Pair of Silhouette Portraits, Attributed to William King, New England, c. 1805, hollow-cut bust-length portraits of a lady and gentleman, backed with black fabric, with embossed "KING" mark below, (minor toning), sight size 3 1/2 x 2 3/4 in., housed in period molded giltwood frames with reverse painted blue mats with gilt rosettes in the corners.”

This pair brought only $125! I do not like this pair at all. The stamps are too large for King. Someone other than King cut the pair. The frames look good, but I question the inserts. This pair is 20th century (6/22/13).

Photo #5
“Three Silhouette Portraits of Women by William Doyle, Boston, early 19th century, hollow-cut portraits with ink embellishments, each signed "Doyle" below, (toning, foxing, one with losses), sight sizes 3 3/8 x 2 5/8, 3 1/4 x 2 5/8, dia. 3 1/4 in., two housed in oval repousse brass frames, one in a molded giltwood frame.”

What happened here? The three brought only $90! Although the cuttings resemble very much like that of Doyle, I cannot say for sure from this distance. However, I would have been quite happy to secure even just the frames at this price. If I were the consignor, I would have been very mad.

Photo #6
“Three Portrait Silhouettes, America, early 19th century, hollow-cut portraits including one of a gentleman likely done by Charles Willson Peale, with backwards embossed "MUSEUM" below, one of a woman wearing a mobcap, and one of a gentleman inscribed "E. Webb 1809" c.l., (toning, minor foxing), dia. 4 in., housed in period round black painted molded wood frames.”

Nothing special here with these three silhouettes. Yet, there is something very simple and charming about these undecorated round frames. These frames are much more difficult to find than the rectangular ones. The problem is, however, that silhouettes must be cut quite a bit to fit into these frames. The trio brought $150.

Photo #7
“Framed Silhouette Advertisement with Three Silhouette Portraits, possibly Salem, Massachusetts area, early 19th century, original printed advertisement on rag paper for Moses Chapman, placed in a frame together with three hollow-cut portraits of a man, a woman, and a boy, (minor toning, stain, tear), sight size 9 1/2 x 7 1/2 in., in a period mahogany veneer frame.”

This is a nice set and brought $650. How often does one find Chapman’s handbill? I would have liked to have examined this one in person. Nowadays, anyone can print a handbill using old paper with a printer. My questions are: Are the letters and the two top images of silhouettes impressed into the paper? Did it go through a press? From the photo, it looks like the cutouts were made from the blank space of the handbill. It does not appear to be in two sections. If this were indeed a genuine piece, I would like to hear from the buyer. I hope it is period.

Photo #8
“Silhouette Portrait of Charles Carroll, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, attributed to Charles Willson Peale, early 19th century, the subject identified in inscriptions on the backing, hollow cut bust-length portrait backed with black silk, with embossed "Peales Museum" mark, 5 x 3 1/2 in. in a period molded giltwood frame.”“Note Charles Carroll (1737-1832) was a member of the Continental Congress (1776-1778), U. S. Senator, an original director of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and signer of the Declaration of Independence from Maryland. It was said that Carroll was the wealthiest man in America in the early 1800s.”

This brought $1600! I do not know how anyone can attribute this to Carroll with sincerity. What pedigree does this item possess? I could have written something on the back of the frame last month. It is an odd-looking Peale.

Photo #9
“Double Portrait Silhouette of Women with Embroidered Decoration, William King, New England, (active 1804-1806), hollow-cut bust-length portraits identified on the reverse as "Elizabeth Walden" and "Elizabeth Dame," both with the name "W. KING" embossed beneath, (one signature is backwards), centered with an embroidered silk threads on paper bouquet of flowers, (toning, tears), 4 x 7 1/4 in., in a likely original molded wood frame.”

What a lovely item this is! It brought $3500. There are two very nice hollow-cuts by King. There is no disagreement there. A charming floral decoration adds to its charm. If it were a true double-silhouette, its rarity would have been enormous. (Please see my writing on true double-silhouettes somewhere on my page.) This is a combined pair or two singles made to appear as one. From the back of the paper, I am sure the split in the paper can be seen (hidden from the obverse by the decoration).

2 comments:

Gerry said...

I have several silhouettes that have been passed down to me. I have been trying to find out about them on line but haven't had much luck.
Some are not signed and the ones that are are hard to read. One I can make out the first name clearly as Herbert, the last name I think starts Mer or Meu. These are also scenes rather than portraits. The framer was J Middleton,Kings Road,Chelsea. Hopefully you can help me identify them and possibly give me an idea of their value.
Gerry

Antique Silhouettes said...

We can try.