I am so pleased to offer this rare pair of extraordinary silhouettes from Edouart's 19th century personal book of genre silhouettes. On page 41 of her book Silhouettes: A History and Dictionary of Artists, Emily Nevill Jackson (Mrs. F. Nevill Jackson) refers to this outstanding folio, "I have Edouart's Album of subject pictures in little, besides ten volumes of his named and dated portraits containing 12,000 portraits." These silhouettes show the absolute mastery of Augustin Edouart's work. The piece on the left is titled "The Castle Gate". It shows two British calvery soldiers guarding a castle from horseback. The figure on the left is a Lancer. The figure on the right is an officer of Dragoons. The piece on the right is titled "The Courier" and features a British officer of Heavy Dragoons riding his horse to courier a message. The watercolor background includes a low overhanging tree under which the horse jumps a felled fence or trees. The extraordinary cut work on both of these works of art include the tiniest details such as multiple reins, tiny spurs, feathered headdresses, individual hairs from the horses tails and the most delicate of hooves. The figures are only 3" tall (much smaller than the profiles Edouart cut for clients) and lovely watercolor backgrounds are painted in sepia tones. The sight size of the silhouettes are 7 5/8" x 7 3/4" (The Castle Gate) and 7 1/2" square (The Courier).
The back of the original backing paper of each silhouette has Mrs. Jackson's pencil written notes. The Castle Gate is labeled "A" and "Page 24 from August Edouart's / Book of Pictures / Cutting by Edouart / Background by G.F.S. / E. N. Jackson". The bottom right corner has Mrs. Jackson' s number "8395". The back of The Courier is labeled "B" and "Page 42 from August Edouart's / Volume of Pictures Treatise / Cutting by Edouart / Background by". Mrs. Jackson did not name the background artist for this silhouette although it was likely the same "G.F.S." of the other.1 In Ancestors in Silhouette by August Edouart, Mrs. Jackson revealed that although Edouart did his own background painting early in his career, he later commissioned artists to do his background painting for him. Mrs. Jackson did not reveal the names of most of those artists, but somewhere among the artwork in Edouart's genre folio, at least one of the background paintings must have been noted as done by "G.F.S." The bottom right corner of this verso also has the number "8395" in Mrs. Jackson's handwriting. These silhouettes are very similar in subject matter and detail as "Skirmish of Cavalry", Plate No. 11 from Edouart's A Treatise on Silhouette Likenesses. See also, McKechnie, Sue, British Silhouette Artists and their Work: 1760-1860 at plate 359, page 299. Framed in well-figured bird's eye maple frames measuring 12 3/4" x 12 1/2" with gilt liners and early glass on both the front and backs so you can see Mrs. Jackson's writing. Circa 1832-1836. As with all silhouettes from Edouart's folios, these are not signed. This is a chance in a lifetime to own silhouettes Edouart made for his own pleasure and to show the full extent of his mastery of the art to potential clients.
1See Jackson, E. Nevill, Silhouettes: A History and Dictionary of Artists, Dover Publications, Inc., New York (1981). At page 101, Mrs. Jackson notes that the background paintings for Edouart’s “genre pictures” in his scrapbook album.
Thanks to a collector, Christopher Bryant, who corrected the above information about the soldiers in the silhouettes. I previously had them misidentified as French Cuirassiers. Military uniforms are definitely not within my expertise--sorry for the earlier mistake. The collector also kindly informed me that the figures in "The Castle Gate" are from two different print sources. The Lancer is after a print by Edward Hull. The Dragoon officer on the right is from a print after Mansion & Eschauzier published circa 1832 by Spooner. I have included an image of the print from which Edouart styled the Dragoon officer below.>
Please see the Silhouettist Bios page for more information about Augustin Edouart.