Silhouette of a woman
- c. 1810 in Halifax
Drawn silhouette of woman, made in Halifax; descriptive label on rear (see over). 65x92mm brass matte, in passe-partout. A machine-made silhouette of a woman wearing an elaborate hat, initiated by an unknown maker in about 1810.
A machine-made silhouette of a woman wearing an elaborate hat, initiated by an unknown maker in about 1810.
The silhouette was created in Halifax using 'Prosopographus, the Automaton Artist', the machine that would draw someone's likeness in a single minute - according to the text on the reverse of the silhouette. Although several inventions like Prosopographus' were in existence, tracing technology of this kind was more widely known as physionotrace, after a machine invented in 1786 by Gilles Louis Chretien (1754-1811). Chretien's Physionotrace produced an engraved plate from which multiple copies of a profile could be printed.
Silhouettes became popular in Britain in the late 1700s. They were named after Etienne de Silhouette (1709-1767), a French finance minister and amateur profile artist.