A Beautiful Edward Foster "Red' Silhouette Signed with original Trade Hanger of Hannah Richardson 1825


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THE STORY - There she was hanging amongst a cluster of other silhouettes and miniatures, but it was only her I saw that beautiful dark red colour of the silhouette embellished with wonderful gold highlights and that profile her long forehead and nose which has a small bump and her slightly opened lips and of course her hair wonderfully held high in a bun with two combs and the obligatory ringlets hanging down. This silhouette painted on card is the work of Edward Foster, and is signed, located (Huddersfield) and dated (1825) by the Artist below the bust line and indeed the miniature sits in it's original lacquered papiér-maché frame with the Artists own Trade hanger.

Edward Foster was born in 1762 and is both a very interesting individual and highly admired and collectable Artist. He had started painting during his time in the army which he left in 1805 aged 47 and shortly afterwards he acquired the position of Portrait Painter to the Royal Family. His work in silhouettes can be put into two periods and can be described by the colour of the background of the silhouettes, in the first period his works were of a black background and the second on a deep red colour of Indian or Venetian Red background embellished with gold and covered in a thin layer of arabic gum, which have become known as his Red Works of which this silhouette is one. Indeed when one refers to Susan McKechnie's reference to him as referenced in 'Profiles of the Past' website she has a timeline of the areas of England he worked in and there she states he was in Huddersfield in 1825. She also talks about the trade hangers Foster used of which there were two sizes this I believe is the smaller of the two and she states that it is rare to find one of Foster's red works silhouettes with a trade hanger so it is delightful this silhouette has one. Foster's life must of been a busy one not only with all the commissions of his silhouettes but he also found time to have five marriages and seventeen children, the youngest of which was born when he was 90 and was I believe the only one to survive him when he died aged 102 in 1864, where after financial difficulties in the last few years of his life he was buried in Paupers Grave in Nottingham.

The reverse of the silhouette which has had at some point had a new backing put on there is a label of the sitters name 'Hannah Richardson born 1794 - died 189(?)8'. I have sadly been unable to find any information about Hannah Richardson and indeed I am struggling to read the decade of her death.

The work on the silhouette is so very fine and I adore the detail of the combs in her hair, her ringlets, that long drop earring and the detail of the lace of her collar. But sadly there is a small amount of damage to this silhouette as I hope you can clearly see from the photographs which is the white dot in her top comb.

DATE - 1825

CONDITION - As I have already mentioned there is a damage spot to this silhouette which is the small white spot in her hair at the top comb. Also there is cracking/crazing to the arabic gum which Foster used and is not particular to this silhouette and Susan McKechnie refers to it in her piece on his work. The Frame as I have mentioned is I believe the original one and is in good condition there is a slight chip to the lacquer in the top right hand corner as you look at the silhouette which is best seen in the first photo and there is also some chipping to the lacquer again the right hand side around the brass rim which is best seen in the eighth photo. The glass is clean and appears to be free of any scratches. As I have already mentioned a new backing has been put on at some point in it's life and what looks like the original text identifying the sitter has been stuck on to this.

DIMENSIONS (Approx) - Unframed - Height 5&1/4" / 14cm, Width 4&3/4" / 12cm, Depth 1/4" / 0.75cm. Unframed - Height 3&1/4" / 8cm, Width 2&3/4" / 7cm.

So there she is my beautiful Edward Foster Silhouette, maybe she is not perfect, but when the light shines on her I find the beauty of the gold embellishment on that deep red background absolutely beautiful. And my it is so lovely that after nearly two hundred years she still sits proudly in her original frame underneath that wonderful trade hanger in the form of a crown with Foster's name engraved upon it and I am sure Hannah Richardson must of been of so proud of both the silhouette and her coiffured hair!

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