Friday, December 4, 2015

Collecting silhouettes

Historically, silhouetteshave had a bad press. So 'cheap' was the art form considered in 18th century France that it was named after a famously stingy minister of finance, Etiennede Silhouette. Yet despite its reputation, the charming depictions won over not just the masses but noblemen and royalty, too.

George III was one such enthusiast, and his daughter Princess Elizabeth and granddaughter Queen Victoria both took up crafting silhouettes as a hobby. As well as its appealing price point, silhouettes offered a quick alternative to portrait paintings. After one swift sitting, you could have a depiction of yourself, which in the days before photography, was rather thrilling.

Today, the designs are still an affordable way to own antique artwork, with prices starting around £300. The silhouettes always look good as a collection displayed together.

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