Silhouettes

Antique Silhouette by Boston Artist William M.S. Doyle
  • I'm always happy to find an authentic silhouette by one of our earliest American silhouettists, William M.S. Doyle.  Unfortunately, many reproduction silhouettes were made in the first 3 decades of the 20th century, which now are sold as antiques.  Most of these silhouettes were done as legitimate reproductions, meant only to be sold as reproductions.  But, as decades have flown by and the paper on these repro silhouettes have aged, many collectors have now been duped into believing they are real, 19th century Doyles.  I assure you that this is a real, circa 1815.

    This is a wonderful American hollow cut profile of a gentleman with inked hair and neck tie.  It is signed "Doyle" just below the bust termination line.  Doyle's silhouette figures range in size from about 3" to about 4".  This silhouette is one of the larger (harder to find) figures, cut to just under 4".  The wove paper from which the silhouette is cut has been glued onto a blackened piece of wove paper.  The blackened paper also has a hollow cut figure which is cut out larger and with no detail so that this first layer of blackened paper does not show inside of the silhouette. The layer of blackened paper is what creates the black border around the silhouette. These two pieces of paper are then backed by (but not glued to) another piece of blackened paper which is larger than the frame opening but has been folded over to fit.  I'm quite sure that this description is hard to follow so I've illustrated the structure with scans which are below.  All paper is of the period of the silhouette and I suspect that Doyle originally framed the piece as you see it now.  Condition of the silhouette is very good with fairly even overall browning.  The paper is very sound, not brittle.  As you can see in the images, the very last sheet of blackened background paper has some bends and waves, but it still shows very well.  The stamped brass over wood frame measures 6.75" 5.75".  This is a wonderful silhouette by a scarcely found artist, in a size that is even more scarce.

    (#5245)     Sale Pending    

    Please see the Silhouettist Bios page for more information about William M.S. Doyle.

    This silhouette was used on the HGTV series High Low with Sabrina Soto for a dining room makeover.  See last photo below.