Author Topic: Silhouette portraits, USA  (Read 822 times)

Offline Kinsy

  • RootsChat Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 242
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Silhouette portraits, USA
« on: Sunday 13 November 16 23:23 GMT (UK) »
Is it possible to date these silhouette portraits, particularly from the headgear worn by the woman on the left ?

Offline e_m

  • RootsChat Extra
  • **
  • Posts: 43
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Silhouette portraits, USA
« Reply #1 on: Monday 20 February 17 17:00 GMT (UK) »
My guess is circa 1835 from New England--Vermont or Maine perhaps. I don't think it was a hat; rather, the hair is in a top knot or either fashioned into a bow.

Offline jc26red

  • RootsChat Marquessate
  • *******
  • Posts: 5,156
  • Census information Crown Copyright.
    • View Profile
Re: Silhouette portraits, USA
« Reply #2 on: Monday 20 February 17 17:16 GMT (UK) »
No clue on where in the States, but to me it looks more like 1920's -30's. A touch of Hollywood. glamour to it.  I think its a hat rather than a hairstyle,  pretty sure early 19th century would have curls on show  and a lower bun.

The frame itself looks old but then its not a quality frame and might have just aged from poor upkeep.

I had one done of me in the early 70's in California... it looks ageless.
Please acknowledge when a restorer works on your photos, it can take hours for them to work their magic

Please scan at 300dpi minimum to help save the restorers eyesight.

Offline e_m

  • RootsChat Extra
  • **
  • Posts: 43
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Silhouette portraits, USA
« Reply #3 on: Monday 20 February 17 17:24 GMT (UK) »
The American Antiquarian Society has a large collection of 19th century silhouettes. Look at Lucinda:
http://americanantiquarian.org/silhouettecollection/exhibits/show/images/item/173

They are absolutely in the style of the 1830s. Not just the headpiece, but the silhouette of the other woman, too.


Offline Kinsy

  • RootsChat Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 242
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Silhouette portraits, USA
« Reply #4 on: Monday 20 February 17 20:53 GMT (UK) »
Thanks so much - that is all v.interesting and useful.
c1835 sounds about right. The silhouettes are definitely from the first half of the 19th century and belonged to my great g/mother b.1842 - we are just struggling to identify exactly which family members they were.

The AAS gallery is great - thanks for the link - and Lucinda & Louise Ware are particularly interesting because our two silhouettes are most likely from the Ware branch of our family

Offline e_m

  • RootsChat Extra
  • **
  • Posts: 43
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Silhouette portraits, USA
« Reply #5 on: Monday 20 February 17 21:00 GMT (UK) »
These types of itinerate silhouettes were often done of an entire family. So yours--an older woman and a younger woman--may very well be of a mother and child. There may also be be an inscription on the back of the cardstock. If you can narrow down who they were or where they lived, it may be possible to identify the artist (as the artist would come probably do an entire community.)

Offline Kinsy

  • RootsChat Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 242
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Silhouette portraits, USA
« Reply #6 on: Tuesday 21 February 17 02:18 GMT (UK) »
Thanks, e_m. I hadn't realised that they were an older and younger woman, thought they were sisters - but you are right.
I have two more silhouettes and opened the frames of all three to look for inscription/cardstock - but that proved rather traumatic, as they are so old and on such very fragile paper, like tissue, which started gently disintegrating - even the backing is disintegrating, it feels like wood but is actually a sort of corrugated cardboard, I think. Some of the little rusty pins from the frames are gone too, so they are not secure in their frames now. Oh dear, not good  :-\

Offline e_m

  • RootsChat Extra
  • **
  • Posts: 43
  • Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
    • View Profile
Re: Silhouette portraits, USA
« Reply #7 on: Wednesday 22 February 17 02:18 GMT (UK) »
You need to take them to a conservator ASAP. The acid in the wood is destroying the paper. You need to get them properly mounted. While you are at it, you may want to get new frames. That is, I am not sure that they are the original. They look like oak, which is not what one would find in New England.