Silhouettes

Antique Silhouette of the Patton Sisters by Edouart
  • From the rescued folios of Augustin Edouart, here is a delightful silhouette of the Patton sisters. On the left is Jane Mary Patton, second daughter of Captain John Wogan Patton of the Bengal native infantry. On the right Capt Patton’s eldest daughter, Margaret Selina Patton daintily holds her skirt as she dances with her sister. Although Edouart took these profiles in Edinburgh, it appears that that these girls were likely raised in India while Capt. Patton was stationed there throughout his military service.

    Capt. J. Wogan Patton was born in 1794 in Kirkcaldy, Scotland to Colonel Robert Patton and Constantia Adriana Mapletoft. Colonel Patton was a career military officer who served mostly in India. He married in Calcutta to the only European child born during the siege of Calcutta. Together they had at least 18 children, many born in Calcutta. However, John Wogan Patton, listed as their 12th child was born in 1794 in Scotland. John married Jane Mary Chambers in India in 1816. By the time of their marriage, he had been in military service in India since 1809. Capt. Patton found in the Nepal War, commanded the Dromedary Corps., fought in the Mahratta War and was wounded during a battle over Jawad. I can find no details about their children, other than we know he had two girls. He died in 1833, two short years after Edouart cut profiles of the family.

    Margaret Selina Patton married William Clode Braddon in Calcutta in 1840. Together they had three children: William Clode Braddon; Edward Henry Clode Braddon; and Mary Isabel Braddon. Unfortunately, my genealogical research has disclosed no information about the second daughter, Jane Mary.

    The silhouette was rescued from Edouart’s sunken folios by Mrs. Jackson. The profiles were removed from the saltwater damaged paper and placed onto new (early 20th century) paper, with the inscription from the bottom of the original page cut out and placed at the bottom. Mrs. Jackson’s signature keyholes are cut into the paper so that you can see the back of the profiles where Edouart made his second inscriptions. Mrs. Jackson’s collection tag is stamped onto the back.

    The bottom inscription on the left says says,

    Mifs Jane Mary Patton
    2nd Daughter of Capn J. Wogan Taken
    1stMay 1830

    The inscription on the right side says,

    Mifs M. Selina Patton
    1st Daughter
    Bengal

    The reverse inscription of Selina’s profile says,

    M. Selena Patton
    eldest Daughter of
    Capt. J. Wogan Patton
    Bengal
    Edinburgh 1st May 1830

    The reverse inscription of Jane Mary’s profile says,

    Jane Mary
    2d Daughter of
    Capt. J. Wogan Patton
    Bengal
    Edinburgh 1st May 1830

    This is an excellent silhouette with great charm. Condition of the silhouette is very good. I’ve told you many times that Edouart thought the human hand was our most expressive part of us. You can see the great care he took cutting Jane Mary’s upheld hand and the hand with which Selina delicately holds her skirt. The girls wear their hair short and Edouart has provided us with wisps of hair at the napes of their necks. The bottom of their skirts are flounced and they wear ruffled underpants that come to their ankles. Their toes are pointed, with arches high as they step into their dance.

    The silhouette if framed in a period gilt frame with a molded composition liner. As you can see, there is some loss to the molding of the composition but it displays beautifully. The water-gilding of the frame is bright and beautiful. There are a few small scratches to the frame. There is glass on the back so you can see the back of the silhouettes and their incriptions showing through the keyholes. As you can see, the profiles have left a slight ghost on the backside of the paper where they helped keep UV light from yellowing the paper as it has done throughout. (Please note that the yellowing is very minor.) Framed size is 12 ½”x 12 3/8”.

    #5636     $2750

    Provenance: Collection of Mrs. F. Nevil Jackson
    Reference: Jackson, Mrs. F. Nevil, Ancestors in Silhouette by August Edouart, The Bodley Head, London; John Lane Co., New York, 1921, at 158.

    Please see the Silhouettist Bios page for more information about Auguste Edouart.