The story of master silhouettist Augustin Edouart is a fascinating one. If you have not read it before, we invite you to take an intermission and go to our Silhouettist Bios page (link below) and return here afterwards. You will be delighted you learned about him.
A new and exciting discovery surfaced a few years ago from a Parisian bookseller: Edouart’s personal folio of “Scraps” in a book labeled “Animaux”. This is the most exciting Edouart discovery in a century! Mrs. Jackson discovered the duplicate folios in the first decade of the 20th century in Guernsey where Edouart left them. However, it appears that Edouart took this book with him to Calais, France. It was filled with figures of dogs, horses, toys, mythical characters, floral sprays, and on and on. It looks like Edouart used the book to keep figures that he cut to practice unusual forms that he might have been commissioned to add to conversation silhouettes as well as figures that he cut for his own amusement. The book was a treasure trove of incredible pieces. We have been so lucky to acquire more than 200 figures removed from this book. We have sold and will continue to sell these figures, always lightly mounted on acid-free materials, and framed in period maple frames as Edouart would have insisted. The reverse of the mountings are always stamped with a specially made stamp for items from this book as well as with Peggy’s collection stamp. The reason for our insistence on mounting and stamping is because these figures are so unusual (although distinctly from Edouart’s hand) that we want to help harden the provenance and enable future generations to authenticate them with the linkage to Peggy.
Some of the figures in Animaux are important but very small and, so, really don’t stand well alone. They are the types of pieces that Edouart would have included in a conversation silhouette with a background of either sepia watercolor or lithograph. Some works just scream for a background, so in the manner of Edouart, who commissioned most (if not all) of the backgrounds he used, we commission artists to create the perfect background. The background of this farm scene was created by Thomas MacPherson of New York. Thomas MacPherson is an artist and a retired Professor of Art at SUNY Geneseo. His watercolors and prints have been widely exhibited in international, national and regional juried exhibitions where they have won numerous awards. We are very pleased with how Thomas captured the feeling of the mid-19th century in which Edouart worked.
We have framed this wonderful silhouette in a beautiful period bird’s-eye maple frame with a stepped gilt liner. 9 ¾” square. There are some dings to the gilt liner and a little veneer loss in lower right corner (mostly the edge). The silhouettes from Edouart’s Animaux were cut between 1826 and 1845 or later.
Edouart, Augustin, A Treatise on Silhouette Likenesses, Longman & Co., Paternoster-Row; and J. Bolster, Patrick-Street, Cork, 1835.
Jackson, Mrs. E. Nevill, Nu>Silhouettes A History and Dictionary of Artists, Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1981 (published as an unabridged republication of Jackson’s Silhouette: Notes and Dictionary, Methuen & Co. Ltd, 1938), at 98-99.
Please see the Silhouettist Bios page for more information about Augustin Edouart.