A very rare treat, we are so excited to be retailing a pair of original late 18th century miniature female shades or profiles on silk (the term Silhouette not really used until circa 1830s). Each tiny 2.5 inch tall silhouette is housed in their original 18th century pressed brass frames under old glass, which also have their inner metal horse shoe supports to their reverse (a rare find indeed). We really would prefer to keep the twins together rather than splitting the family. A super pair for your special doll or toy room.
Can you imagine the skill required to paint a silhouette on silk fabric, it is quite remarkable. The paint has to be the perfect consistency in order not to bleed or run. There is NO white used, the paler detailing seen in the folds of fabric is the under silk which has been deliberately left unpainted, quite some skill to get it right first time. Silhouettes portraits on silk are rare, for many of the reasons stated above and the fact that silk is a natural fabric that can age with time.
The silhouettes depict a pair of sisters, almost identical and so we would say definitely twins. Each wears a Corday cap or mobcap (famously named after Charlotte Corday, the female assassin of French revolutionary radical Jean-Paul Marat in his bath in July 1793 - see her portrait by Jean-Jacques Hauer in which she wears an identical cap).
The sitters are young 18 to 25 years old women who have their hair unpowdered and loose. They each wear a diaphanous 'buffon' which was a large gathered piece of fabric. This was gathered to cover the delicate bosom area 'decolletage' which was shown by the low cut dresses of this 1790s era.
Size: 2.5 inch tall (6.5 cm) by 2 inch wide(5.25 cm), last image taken in natural English daylight shown for scale.
Condition: The frames are good and strong with just a replaced wire to one top suspension loop. The silk is good and strong with no melting, just minor age darkening and two small old insect holes to the face of one of the girls. Some age debris trapped under the glass.
A gorgeous pair of teeny silhouettes of a rare small size and on a scarce silk ground.
We are sad to part with this pair, but excited for their next guardian.
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Rare Pair 1790's Miniature Silhouette on Silk, Twin Sisters, Doll Size 2.5" Tall
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