This is a stunning cut & paste silhouette of a small girl that well-depicts the exquisite embellishment expected from the Frith brothers. The brothers, Frederick & Henry, worked together under the name Royal Victoria Gallery—sometimes it seems that their father worked with the gallery, likely doing some of the exceptionally detailed gilt embellishment. Frederick and Henry (who signed his work H.A. Frith) quite often worked on their own. Indeed, it seems that most of the signed work we find is by one of the two brothers. The bronzing of these profiles is some of the best one might find. It can be almost portrait-like, showing minute details of hands and showing just how light played upon the subjects. This little girl is very representative of the Friths’ work. Look at her proper right hand and how the fingers fold back onto her palm. The basket she carries is delicately open weave with a foot extending out at the bottom. The fabric of her dress is lustrous and the bow of her sash picks up the most light and shines happily back at the viewer. Similarly, her hair shimmers where the light makes it shine above and below the simple tuck behind her ear. I especially love the way the brothers set single children, such as this girl, low on the card to emphasize how small these children actually were. This child stands upon a simple grey watercolor wash ground. Condition is excellent but for a bit of expected toning to the paper. I’m not sure whether the dark areas of the bottom stick of the frame is from natural graining or an old, well-repaired burn. It takes nothing away from the piece. The child is housed in a period canted veneered wood frame. The veneer might be mahogany or rosewood, I’m not sure. The frame measures 8 ½” x 11 ½” with a sight size of 5 ½” x 8 ½”. Circa 1850.
Please see the Silhouettist Bios page for more information about Royal Victoria Gallery & the Frith Brothers.