This delightful English profile silhouette of a lady is by the sought after artist Edward Foster. Edward Foster was a professional silhouette artist with a well-documented history. Foster lived to the grand age of 102, married 5 times and had 17 children. He was born in 1762 and died in 1864. This particular type of silhouette produced by Foster is known as a ‘red silhouette’.
‘Foster’s “red” profiles are so called because of the colour of their backgrounds, which varies in fact between a strong Indian (or Venetian red) and reddish-brown. These silhouettes are embellished in fine gold, covered with a fine layer of gum Arabic.’
The aging process to the silhouette's texture is aptly described by Sue Mcckechnie ‘Over the years, this gum has peeled a little and some crazing (in very small pieces, because of the thinness of the layer of gum) has resulted).’ Ref: Sue Mckechnie (1978). British Silhouette Artists and their Work 1760 – 1860 Pages 400 – 405. Please section two, three, four, five, six and Seven for in depth information on Foster.
Foster had an extensive military career of 30 years seeing service in the American War of Independence, Holland and Egypt. He retired from the army on the Day of the Battle of Trafalgar. After his career in the army he went on to develop his painting skill that he had developed during his time in the military. He is said to have been appointed ‘Miniature painter to the royal family’ with the special patronage of Queen Charlotte and of Princes Amelia. This is shown by the occasional use of the Royal Crown on his brass hangers.
Our female painted silhouette on card is housed behind old convex glass in the most attractive original papier mache frame. The artist has signed and dated the painting below the bust line in the tiniest hand painted text reading ‘Foster 1824.’ The text on the reverse reads ‘G. G. G. Grand Mother to K.M Herring.’ We have removed the card backing; the text below reads ‘Grandma Wrigley, Huddersfield.’
The sitter is Elizabeth Wrigley, nee Kenworthy (b 1748 – d 1829). In 1767 Elizabeth married James Wrigley (b 1747 – d 1809). The Wrigley’s were a wealthy family, the couple owned a large textile mill in Netherton, Yorkshire called ‘Cocking Steps Mill’ however it was known locally as ‘Wrigley Mill.’
Measuring: Frame width 4.75 inch (12 cm) by height 5.75 inch (14.5 cm).Aperture width 2.75 inch (7 cm) by height 3.25 inch (8.5 cm).
Condition: Very minor pencil mark above sitters head, barely visible. Minor shallow 1/8 inch surface graze to bottom left corner of frame.
This is a desirable silhouette by a sought after artist, the perfect for anyone who collects silhouettes.
As shown in the last image retailed separately is another silhouette by Foster of the son of Elizabeth Wrigley, Dr Thomas Wrigley, Surgeon of Huddersfield.
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