Everett Howard may be my favorite American silhouettist. (But he might be tied with James H. Whitcomb.) I love Howard silhouettes because he elevated a hollow-cut bust-length profile with flourishes such as bust-line-terminations that were his alone (i.e. a signature characteristic), using a pen-knife to slash hair, adding a separately cut flourish below the silhouette). Howard was an ex-school-teacher who left because he didn’t like the more than 100 unruly boys he was teaching in a single class. He decided it was time for a new occupation. Howard had always been interested in art. He “draughted” many pictures as he worked at his father’s farm and contemplated his next career. He told no one of his plans until he one day up and bought a horse and announced he was going West. His preparations included buying a new suit, shirts, boots and luggage. Still, he did not know what he would do when he got West. A few days before his set departure, he announced that he was inventing a new Profile machine. Within one week, Howard had invented, perfected, had the machine made according to his specifications and had become a profilist! There is more to the story, but it is the fact that Howard heard about profile cutting and in a week became an itinerant profilist, creating what ultimately were some of the finest, most creative of the early American hollow cut silhouettes that makes me love Howard. What gumption the young man had (for he was only twenty).
Offered is one of Howard’s beautiful women. This stunning bust-length hollow cut profile shows Howard’s competence with the scissors and his imagination in finishing the profile with India ink hair, including well defined ringlets on the lady’s forehead, the ink circles that he loved to use on female silhouettes (I’ve not seen the circles on a gent’s silhouette, and the gorgeous drawing of the lace ruff adorning the young woman’s neckline—the ruff seems three-dimensional and fairly dances around her neck. The woman is placed within a verre églomisé glass mat and a really glorious Federal period molded wood frame with a roped cove and water-gilded beautifully. I don’t know that either the glass mat or the frame are original to the silhouette but they are both certainly period—likely with restoration to the painting of the glass and the gilding on the frame. These frames are hard to come by and I’ve never had one that sang so beautifully. This package would be a lovely addition to your collection. Circa 1825.
#6819 Sale Pending
Please see the Silhouettist Bios page for more information about Everet Howard