These became very fashionable in the late 18th century, obviously pre photographs and were a subtle and skilled way to have portrait done, they were normally executed in stiff black card or black sugar paper.
Nearly always put into a black ebonised or papermache frame often with a gilded metal slip and an acorn finial or hanger. Some had verre eglomise surrounds a type of reverse painting on glass normally in black and gilt sometime with white borders, adding a little more class to the picture.
It became a sort of parlour game to get the likeness as real as possible rather than a caricature.
A little like the shell cameo were a must have in the 1970s, silhouettes became very popular again as a collections, they have been a main stay of traditional American dealers for years but like so many things, now with home been a major focus in life, collecting these charming pictures seems to be coming more and more poplar, and they make a real statement too.
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