Lovely full length silhouette of a young girl holding a small animal (perhaps a cat) in her arms. The silhouette is cut from black paper and embellished with gold or yellow, but the object in the sitter’s arms is a bit difficult to see. But cat or not, the real highlight of this silhouette is the cutting which includes very delicate facial features and her clothing which includes translucent underpants which were designed to show under her calf-length skirt. Her sleeves are short and puffed, her bodice pleated, and they meet from either shoulder at the center. The embellishment shows her short hair with curls framing her face. She wears low-healed slippers that have an ankle strap. She also wears a beaded necklace, which is probably coral to protect her from evil spirits (what we call good luck these days). She is framed in a nicely figured maple veneer frame with gilt slip. She is behind a mat to which she is, unfortunately, glued. The mat is not acid-free, but we have inserted archival mylar between the silhouette and the wood frame back. Her frame appears to be original and the frame back has a stenciled label “HUBARD GALLERY.” A paper label attached to the frame back identifies the sitter as “Harriott Goord neé Harriott Ruck. born: died: [no dates] 1885 - aged 75 - wife of Richard Goord of Dane House Hartlifs [?Hartliss] born 1791 died: May 24th 1863 aged 72." Framed size is 9 ¾” x 13 ¼” with a sight size of the frame at 6 ½” x 10”. Note that the back of the frame was covered with paper, including the label which stretched horizontally across to the edge on one side. We feel lucky that we could coax the paper with the writing away from the wood back so that we could 1) get into the frame to add conservation materials; 2) reveal the Hubard Gallery stamp; and 3) save the written family history.
The Hubard Gallery began in 1821 to promote the talents of the 12 year old child prodigy silhouettist Master William James Hubard. The gallery was run by Hubard’s rather shady manager, known only as “Mr. Smith.” Smith hired other talented little boys to also work as silhouettists and toured England, United States and back to England. William Hubard left the gallery in 1826 but the gallery continued, using his name, until at least 1845. The clothing of this young girl date this silhouette to the late 1820s, a date when Hubard may well have been gone. We know some of the artists who worked for the Hubard Gallery, but it is impossible to know which artist cut which silhouette during the post-Hubard years. Regardless, Hubard Gallery silhouettes are very desirable and collectible. The work in this silhouette is excellent. The translucent underpants painted around the cut legs is an extra-special detail. Condition is excellent but for the fact that it is glued to the mat in front and the overall darkening of the silhouette and card. Circa 1825.
Please see the Silhouettist Bios page for more information about William James Hubard and The Hubard Gallery.