Watching the news of Russian forces rolling into Ukraine a fortnight ago I was embarrassed to realise just how little I knew about the country. I had to look it up on a map! What’s the history, I wondered. Why is this happening? I found I knew almost nothing about either Ukrainian culture or history.
History of Silhouettes
Articles about silhouette history and a wide range of historical silhouettists whose work interests Charles or has influenced him for one reason or another.
THE ENGLISH SILHOUETTISTTE April Fielding (her description, not mine) has been hard to bring out of the shadows. Until this month, I didn’t even know her name! I only recognised a series of well-cut postcard silhouettes, made in the 1900s, embellished with graphite and initialled “AF”.
OTHO BARDEN was an American artist who cut silhouettes during the summer season at the popular tourist attraction of Rock City at the top of Lookout Mountain, Georgia. He seems to have worked there for many years, probably from the opening of Rock City in 1932 until the mid 1950s.
WHEN GOOGLING “Audax” all you’ll find is information about long-distance cycle racing. However, Audax was also a silhouettist with a career spanning over 40 years. This is why I refer to him as the long-distance silhouettist!
WHO ON EARTH was Mrs Ames? It’s a good question. Considering that only one pair of silhouettes painted by her has ever been identified, researchers have written a surprising amount about this artist (or artists).
BAJ B. IS ONE of my favourite silhouettists. I’ve learned a lot from looking at the best of their silhouettes (I’ve no idea whether Baj was male or female, so will use the non-gendered third person). At their best there are silhouettes I would struggle emulate.
THE ADELAIDE GALLERY is more famous for its innovations in Daguerreotype than for silhouette cutting. Nevertheless, a number of silhouettists seem to have worked there. The London gallery was active in the mid nineteenth century.
I HEARD ABOUT Inger Eidem long before I knew her name. Whilst cutting silhouettes at events I’d occasionally meet people who’d tell me about silhouettes they had done in their childhood. Apparently the artist cut through two pieces of paper at the same time, one of which became a portrait and the other a caricature.
AS AN ARTIST interested in science I’m aways fascinated by weird pseudo-scientific ideas of the past, especially if they involve silhouettes. Once which caught my eye recently is the contraption known as Prosopographus.
AFTER WATCHING Silhouette Secrets, recently launched on Amazon, people often ask: what sparked my interest in silhouettes? It isn’t such an easy question to answer. However, my mind often returns to this silhouette, which has been in my family for years. It may well be the first silhouette I ever saw.
MY FILM Silhouette Secrets includes a cameo appearance by Paul Daniels. This interview – our Paul Daniels cameo – was a late addition. We were looking for a magician to talk about Dai Vernon, the celebrated father of close-up magic, who earned a living as a street silhouettist during the Great American Depression.
WHAT SHOULD a silhouettist’s approach to data protection be? This question has been much on my mind recently. I’m not alone; the launch of GDPR in Europe – and the subsequent wave of reply-or-unsubscribe emails – has got everybody thinking. What kind of data do I use? For me, the question has caused me to