Edouart,The Artist's Children 1828 ; A Page of Objects ; Silhouette landscape c1920; Couple at leisure c1927; Lavater's Treatise on Physiognomy, interpretation of the profile.

BOTTOM ROW. Lavater's Treatise, taking a silhouette Portrait; from Lavater, Physiognomy, the artist's chair; Limomachia, a machine for taking likenesses; Schmalcalder's Profile Machine, patent drawing 1806.


The Silhouette had a claim to represent the origin of art, when a woman traced her lover's profile on the wall shortly before his departure. It was a sizeable and now neglected industry which relied upon manual dexterity of the cutting after drawing. There is a long tradition of cut paper arts, culminating perhaps in the articulated animation figures of Lotte Reiniger.

In a recent lecture David Watkin showed how he shot a scene for a film of Rossini's Cenerentola as if it were an eighteenth century silhouette.


Zeissig, The Origin of Painting 1767


to Mary Baker The Little Girl who Curtsied to an Owl