Blog: @silhouettist

A modern-day silhouettist tells his story.
Charles Burns writes about his explorations into the art and history of silhouette. His mission is to bring this often-overlooked art to a wider, appreciative audience.

April Fielding, the Crystal Palace Silhouettistte

April Fielding, the Crystal Palace Silhouettistte

Virtual Studio Day: 1st April 2021 • The English silhouettistte April Fielding (her description, not mine) is a shadowy character. Until this month, I didn't even know her name! I only recognised a series of very fine postcard silhouettes, made in the 1900s, embedded in graphite and initialled "AF". (more…)

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Edgar Adolphe, a Frenchman in Brighton

Edgar Adolphe, a Frenchman in Brighton

Virtual Studio Day: 25th April 2021 • The Frenchman known as “Monsieur Adolphe” seems to have been quite a character in Brighton. Was he responsible for the myth that silhouettes were a traditional French art? (more…)

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Carl Ackerlund, blacksmith silhouettist from Minnesota

Carl Ackerlund, blacksmith silhouettist from Minnesota

Virtual Studio Day: 18th April 2021 • Silhouettes are famous for being black, but very few are actually made by a blacksmith. Carl Ackerlund, from Minnesota, USA was such a man: a blacksmith silhouettist. (more…)

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Adelaide Gallery daguerreotypes and silhouettes

Adelaide Gallery daguerreotypes and silhouettes

Virtual Studio Day: 11th April 2021 • 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. (more…)

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Sarah Harrington’s hollow-cuts

Sarah Harrington’s hollow-cuts

Virtual Studio Day: 7th March 2021 • I recently came across the work of a talented silhouettist called Sarah Harrington.  She was a professional silhouettist who worked during the latter part of the eighteenth century.  What struck me about about her work (apart from her obvious love of hats) is that they're all cut inside-out! (more…)

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Marie Antoinette, by Isabella Beetham

Marie Antoinette, by Isabella Beetham

Virtual Studio Day: 14th March 2021 • Last Wednesday I picked up an eighteenth-century silhouette by Isabella Beetham. Beetham is a well-known Georgian artist and her work is much prized by collectors today. She is something of a feminist icon. (more…)

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The Ink and Wash silhouettes of Mr Charles

The Ink and Wash silhouettes of Mr Charles

Virtual Studio Day: 24th March 2021 • I sent the first draft of my book to the publishers this morning.  It's been an intense few months, but I've really enjoyed the opportunity to write about Mr Charles (among others) and his wonderful ink-wash silhouettes. (more…)

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