Thomas Chittenden Silhouette

chittenden-silhouette.jpg

Dublin Core

Title

Thomas Chittenden Silhouette

Subject

Silhouette, Vermont, Governor

Description

In the 18th and 19th centuries not everyone could afford the time or the money to have his or her portrait painted, and party for this reason silhouette making came into vogue. After the invention of the tracing machine, silhouette making occurred on a mass scale all across the United States. In fact the Peale Museum had a “Physiognotrace Machine” where anyone could get a reproduction of themselves for around 8 cents.
Silhouettes became a personal commodity; people filled scrapbooks and albums with images of their friends and family. Only with the invention of photography in the mid-19th century was silhouette-making eclipsed as a cheap means to reproduce likenesses.
Charles Willson Peale, a renowned painter, is the purported creator this silhouette of Thomas Chittenden. The truth, however, is murkier. Two New York antique dealers, Mr. and Mrs. Collins, acquired the official Peale Museum stamp in the 1920s and created hundreds of Peale silhouette forgeries. The broadness of cutting, the straight nose, the undefined collar as well as the placement of the Peale stamp indicate that this silhouette, lacking the quality and detail of a true Peale silhouette, is one of those forgeries.

Creator

Charles Willson Peale

Date

19th-20th Century

Contributor

Curated by JP Dubuque

Format

Paper and wood. Gold frame is 26.5 x 31.5 cm, Gold Foil is 10 cm x 14 cm, Silhouette is 3.5 x 8 cm.

Language

English

Type

Image

Identifier

1937.57

Coverage

North America

Comments

Allowed tags: <p>, <a>, <em>, <strong>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>

About the Original Item

Date Added
May 2, 2011
Collection
Fleming Museum
Item Type
Image
Citation
Charles Willson Peale, “Thomas Chittenden Silhouette,” Omeka@CTL, accessed June 4, 2020, http://ctl.w3.uvm.edu/omeka/items/show/588.
Associated Files