Full-length regency silhouettes

Cutting Regency Silhouettes

SOME WEEKS ago I was lucky enough to be booked for the Jane Austen Festival in Bath, where I found myself cutting a whole series of regency silhouettes. This is one of those rare events that is obviously made for a silhouettist like myself, so I simply had to write and share some of the results. Cutting this set of full lengths (and I cut nearly 50 of them on the day) I really felt as if I’d gone back in time and become a Regency era silhouettist myself. 

L'aimable Jane
The famous silhouette of Jane Austen, titled L’amiable Jane, in the National Portrait Gallery in London

I’ve often studied silhouettes of this era, but it was a rare treat to be cutting them myself. I hope you agree they are really something special. There are very few artists who can cut a freehand full length silhouette these days, and the wonderful hats and bonnets made it all the more challenging for me. The event was a great opportunity to practice this kind of cutting.

Regency Silhouettes: a popular art

Unusually, the client had decided to charge the visitors £15 each to have a silhouette. This did make me rather nervous at first, but I needn’t have worried. Once I got going there was a queue all day long, and the client actually raised rather more than my fee. My Regency Silhouettes were very popular!

With such a win-win situation do you think I can hope to do some more next year?

A small family group, all in Regency costume
A set of full-length silhouettes looking as if they were cut in 1810 rather than 2010!


Edit / 21st September 2016 / Charles Burns

Since making this post I’ve been back the Jane Austen Festival many times. It’s become one of my favourite regular gigs!

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