Silhouettes

Exceptionally Rare Trio of Greyhounds from Edouart's Genre Pictures
  • The dogs that I will be listing over the next year or two offer you a important opportunity to own silhouettes out of a folio that Mrs. Jackson referred to as an album of “Edouart’s genre pictures”. This genre album has long been off the market but recently surfaced and I have been lucky enough to purchase a number of figures removed from it. The album appears to have been Edouart’s personal book where he practiced figures and poses that he felt compelled to cut for his own edification. The figures from this album are of varying sizes, unlike the strict “military standard” which he used from 1827 with figures 7 ½” to 8” or less, depending on the height of his sitter. Mrs. Jackson noted that Edouart used this “military standard” from 1827 until the end of his career “except with his miniature work.” The miniature work to which she referred was saved exclusively by Edouart in this album or used for the exhibition he discusses in his own Treatise.

    So, here are three of the dogs from Edouart’s personal album. Framed as a group are three sight hounds (I believe them to be greyhounds) in varying size and position. I’ve framed the one in the top right corner so that you can see the reverse because Edouart labeled this seated hound as “Lily Mr. Wynter”. At least, to the best of my reading, the name of the dog’s owner is Wynter. Unfortunately, I have not found a Wynter amongst Mrs. Jackson’s list of sitters—but there have been more folios discovered since she collected them and there were many lost to the sea. Are all three of these figures of Lily in differing positions and sizes? Is one Lily and the others her pups or someone else’s dogs? We’ll never know whether Edouart was depicting a dog that he needed to cut for a commissioned silhouette or whether Lily represented a friend or neighbor’s hound and he seized the opportunity to work on a new form. That is what is so exciting about these carefully rendered pieces! Lily also represents a rarely used form of entertainment where Edouart doodled on the back of a figure. I’ve never seen one with a complete drawing and it’s obvious that he was not working on his outline but just sketching a few details. You can view another of his sketched backs in the Laughons’ A Quaker Album at 5.

    It is obvious that Edouart was using his best skills with these miniatures. Look at the detail of the feet, the curl of the tails, the position of the ears, how the back changes shape with the different poses. Edouart was honing the skills that make his silhouettes so desirable. And, here we offer you an opportunity to own these dogs from his own personal album…..made only for himself and hidden in a collection for decades! What a find! The greyhounds vary in size from 4” tall for the largest to 2 ¾” tall for the smallest. The figures are in extremely good condition. The tail on the small standing dog was bent but I’ve carefully straightened it back to its original position. I’ve framed them in a period birds-eye maple frame with a gilt liner and early glass. I’ve gently mounted them with tiny hinges of Japanese rice tape to a light blue acid-free paper which is laid to an acid-free ragboard. On the back of the ragboard we are putting a stamp to authenticate these pieces as from The Archive Scrapbook Archive of Augustin Edouart. If you want further provenance, I’m happy to add my own collection stamp at your request. These silhouettes will be so desirable in the future and you will be happy to have this authentication. Framed size 12 ¾” x 11 ¾”. Circa 1826-1845.

    #5829    $1450

    References:

    Edouart, Augustin, A Treatise on Silhouette Likenesses, Longman & Co., Paternoster-Row; and J. Bolster, Patrick-Street, Cork, 1835.

    Jackson, Mrs. E. Nevill, Silhouettes A History and Dictionary of Artists, Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1981 (published as an unabridged republication of Jackson’s Silhouette: Notes and Dictionary, Methuen & Co. Ltd, 1938), at 98-99.

    Laughon, Helen & Nel, August Edouart A Quaker Album: American and English Duplicate Silhouettes 1827-1845, Cheswick Press, Richmond, VA 1987 at 5.

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