Two Antique Silhouettes Comprising the Abercrombie Family from the rescued folios of Edouart
  • I am delighted to have almost the entire family of Dr. Abercrombie put back together after their hundred year separation! This is a lot of two framed silhouettes of the family of Dr. John Abercrombie, First Physician to the Queen of Scotland. Unfortunately, Mrs. Jackson seems to have sold Dr. Abercrombie’s silhouette separately. Mrs. Jackson does illustrate her book with Dr. Abercrombie’s profile at the plate opposite 35. Also in Jackson, he is discussed as one of Sir Walter Scott’s medical advisors. Jackson also tells us that Dr. Abercrombie’s silhouette was taken for the Orphan Asylum, Edinburg. Jackson at 33. Dr. Abercrombie, his wife and daughters were taken in 1830 in Edinburg and are noted in Jackson at 30 & 176.

    The first silhouette is from the collection of Glee Krueger. The Abercrombie family members are identified from left to right as:

    Mifs Adamina Abercrombie / 18th November [“Adamina" has been crossed out in pencil and above is penciled the name “Agnefs”. This appears to be Mrs. Jackson’s writing as she corrected Edouart’s mistake.]
    Mifs Harriett Abercrombie
    Mifs Marguerite Abercrombie / 27th December 1830.
    Mrs. Dr. Abercrombie [with notation above] Died Janry 1835

    The above silhouette is on the original folio paper and the lower right corner bears Edouart’s page number “95”. The reverse of the paper has had the silhouettes removed but bears Edouart’s original inscriptions identifying the missing figures. The condition is very good with a small tear under the arm of Agnes (holding the bird) and a bit of the bird seems to be missing. The page and figures have a small amount of scuffing and yellow stains. Mrs. Abercrombie’s sewing thread seems to have broken. The position of the sitters and action in this silhouette is just so charming and the detail, including the paw foot of the candlestand and all the accoutrements of the tea party make it very desirable. Period maple frame with glass to front and back. Framed size 16 ½” x 13”.

    The next silhouette, to be sold together with the rest of the Abercrombie family is on Mrs. Jackson’s replacement paper with keyholes to the back identifying the girls, from left to right as follows:

    Mifs Barbara Abercrombie / Edinburg 29th Decemb. 1830
    Mifs Georgiana Abercrombie / Edinburg 27th Decemb. 1830
    Mifs Adamina Abercrombie / Edinburg 27th Decemb. 1830

    Barbara sits at the piano or spinet playing music for her sisters’ dance. The legs of the spinet are crooked and possibly have some breaks and repair. It appears that Barbara’s figure may have been wrinkled while the folios were submerged and has some missing black in those smoothed out wrinkles. Georgiana and Adamina appear to have fared better in the water and have just a few scratches to the black. Mrs. Jackson’s collection stamp is on the reverse. Period maple frame with glass to front and back. Framed size 16 5/8” x 12 ½”. The Abercrombie girls are from the collection of Paula Peyraud.

    Note that it seems that, in addition to Dr. Abercrombie, Susan Abercrombie is still missing from the family. Susan is noted in Jackson.

    The silhouette of Mrs. Abercrombie and daughters is from the collection of Collection of Glee Krueger. Ms. Krueger is an expert in American needlework. She has authored several books and articles as well as curated museum exhibitions. You can find more information about Ms. Krueger at

    The silhouette of the Abercrombie sisters is another fabulous shade from the collection of Paula Peyraud. Paula Fentress Peyraud (1947-2008) was an avid collector from a young age. She was a reference librarian at the Chappaqua Public Library and her voracious love of reading prompted her to amass an important collection of books, manuscripts, autographed letters of 18th through the 20th century. As a lover of art and people, she also put together an important collection of paintings, silhouettes, drawings and prints. Luckily, this avid collector lived in her family’s substantial house which she filled with her collections—even to the point where she added on to the house for more room to collect. The works of art she collected were of high quality, from the best collections and mostly portraits. She obviously loved characters and the idea of collecting people. Her collection of silhouettes included the best known artists as well as some folk pieces. Luckily for us, Ms. Peyraud kept wonderful records of her collection purchases. All of Ms. Peyraud’s documentation will go to the buyer of all of her silhouettes.

    #5740 & 5803    $6900 for both silhouettes

    Mrs Abercrombie & Daughters, Collection of Glee Krueger.

    Abercrombie Sisters, Collection of Paula Peyraud; Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, November 16-18, 1978, Lot 442.

    References: Jackson, Mrs. F. Nevil, Ancestors in Silhouette by August Edouart, The Bodley Head, London; John Lane Co., New York, 1921, at 30, 33, 35, plate opposite 35 & 176.

    Please see the Silhouettist Bios page for more information about Edouart, including the story of the sunken folios.