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”.
Historically, silhouette portraits are a male-dominated art. Today, the opposite is true. How did this happen? Here are stories of significant female silhouettists.
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).
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.
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!
LAST WEDNESDAYI 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. She is one of very few eighteenth-century female artists to build a successful career in the male-dominated art world of her time. I came