This is a really stunning 19th century cut & paste silhouette by Augustin Edouart of two ladies in their best room. The lady on the left is lounging with her foot on a cricket stool with claw feet and a tufted upholstered top. Her arm (possibly with imbecile sleeve) rests on the back of her Sheraton period chair. She has just laid her book down so her standing friend can show off a pencil drawing of a turreted castle (apparently the standing lady’s latest artistic endeavor). The penciled drawing is on a separate piece paper that Edouart has carefully placed in her hands. All cut details of the ladies are wonderful with special attention paid to their hands (perhaps because Edouart felt some affinity to the standing lady and her artistic work). The watercolor background is probably the most detailed I’ve ever seen from Edouart (although it was probably painted by one of his commissioned artists). The carpet, draperies, and table cover are richly patterned. On the table sits a detailed desk set, with quill pens, and books. There are two paintings over the fireplace. On the mantle sits a figural clock under glass, with robed chariot rider being pulled by two rearing horses. If you look very closely, you can see the Arabic numerals on the face of the clock. The fireplace appears to have a fire in it although this is depicted by smoke billowing up the flue instead of showing the actual fire. The fireplace fender and tools are all wonderfully and carefully painted. Detail outside the window are painted very faintly. The piece is signed in the lower left corner “Augn. Edouart fecit, 1831.” It is housed in a period flat profile bird’s-eye maple frame similar to those used by Edouart with a new gilt liner. Framed size is 16 ¾” x 14”.
Note: Thanks to art historian, Ed Polk Douglas of Lyons, New York, the sketch in the standing lady's hand has been identified and is of Holyroodhouse Palace, at the foot of Royal Mile, Edinburgh, Scotland. You can see a photo of the Palace from the same view at www.stuckonscotland.co.uk/edinburgh/holyrood-pictures.html. Scroll down to the first image and click on it. Holyroodhouse Palace was the venue for the July 30, 2011 wedding reception of Queen Elizabeth's eldest granddaughter, Zara Phillips, and her new husband, England rugby start, Mike Tindall.
While we don't know who the sitters in this silhouette are, it is interesting to note that, in 1830 King Charles X of Bourbon, one time king of France, his family and court took up exile to Holyrood Palace in 1830. Edouart cut the silhouettes of King Charles and many of the exiled members of his family and court at Holyrood Palace. The fact that the standing lady is holding a sketch of the Palace may be a clue that these ladies are from the court.
Please see the Silhouettist Bios page for more information about Augustin Edouart.
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