The Last Silhouettist

A modern-day silhouettist tells his story. Charles Burns writes about his research into the art and history of silhouette. On the way he meets some fascinating characters, both ancient and modern.

Can a shadow survive a fire?

Can a shadow survive a fire?

If you have ever seen my film, or heard me speak, you will know the story of how I taught myself to cut silhouettes by studying the duplicate albums of Hubert Leslie. (more…)

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A Paper Anniversary silhouette

A Paper Anniversary silhouette

One year on falls the paper anniversary. A little over a year ago I was booked to attend a wedding at the Savoy, London. It was a wonderful event and I cut some memorable silhouettes, including a three-minute cutting of one of the most complicated hats I've ever seen. (more…)

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Wedding cake silhouettes

Wedding cake silhouettes

During 2015 I noticed a lot of couples adding a wedding cake silhouette to their cakes. This is a great way to bring the theme of silhouette into the wedding. Some of the cakes are really creative. (more…)

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A Windemere Wedding

A Windemere Wedding

A couple of weeks ago I was cutting silhouettes at a wedding in Windermere.  It was cold, wet and windy, as you would expect from the Lake District in late summer. The hotel in use for the reception had a couple of interesting early-Victorian full-length silhouettes on the wall.  One of the teenage guests asked me about them as I did her own silhouette, so I told her they were first cut from paper and then embellished with gold paint, and to judge by the look of them they probably dated from about the 1840's.  Without a moment's hesitation she replied: "Oh, did you do them then?" (more…)

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A wedding proposal

A wedding proposal

I was cutting caricatures at a student ball a couple of weeks ago when I received a strange request. A student was planning to make a wedding proposal to his girlfriend, and was looking for an original way to do it. Seeing me in action, he asked me to cut a silhouette of them both while he did so. (more…)

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