You see a lot of fake silhouettes with the stamp of PEALE’S MUSEUM under a spread eagle but this one is the real deal. In the 1930s a married couple found the real stamp of the Museum and set about making hundreds, if not thousands, of fake silhouettes with the legitimate stamp. There seem to be more fakes than real ones. It is easy to tell the fake ones and the link at the bottom of the listing takes you to a short, clearly written article explaining the things to look for to determine whether a Peale’s Museum silhouette with the spread eagle impressed stamp is real or fake. The article is written by Anne Verplanck, former art curator at Winterthur Museum. We also invite you to visit our “Silhouettist Bios” to read more about Peale and his Museums.
This silhouette is the real deal and we know this because: (1) it is the correct size, (2) the impressed stamp is right below to the bust-line termination, and (3) the cutting is of the high quality delivered by the Museum. A period ink inscription across left edge identifies the lady as "Annie Stewardson / Friend of F.B. Pleasant [fairly illegible, this is our best reading] 1818." A pencil inscription across the bottom reads "Annie Stewardson / Philadelphia" and a light period ink inscription in lower right corner reads "19". We acquired the silhouette with the paper glued to black fabric which has a vertical crease down middle and is just a little wavy. Housed in a period gilt frame measuring 6 3/4 x 5. The silhouette is floated on black archival paper with Japanese rice paper tape. The modern frame we acquired the silhouette in had a mid-20th century label on reverse saying "Annie Stewardson / from the Gundecker family / Lancaster Penna". We reframed the piece in a period frame and saved the label, reglueing it to the backing board of the current, period frame.