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Silhouette: The Art of the Shadow Hardcover – October 6, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


"Beautiful and overflowing with charming illustrations, Rutherford’s book proves full of substance....Art enthusiasts will gain a greater understanding of a classic form. History lovers will discover an unexpected depth. And all readers will gain a greater appreciation for the men and women who practiced an old-fashioned art in surprisingly modern ways." ~ForeWord Magazine

About the Author

Emma Rutherford is an art historian who has specialized in silhouettes and portrait miniatures for fifteen years. Formerly a Director of the Silhouettes and Portrait Miniatures Department at Bonhams Auctioneers, she has also worked at the Victoria and Albert Museum and Phillips Auctioneers in London. She lectures and writes frequently on the subject.

Lulu Guinness is a world-renowned designer of accessories with a keen interest in silhouettes. Her handbags are in the permanent collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Museum of the Handbag in Holland, and the Museum of Fine Art in Houston.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Rizzoli; First edition (October 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847830772
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847830770
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 1.3 x 11.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #718,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By J. F. Wakefield on January 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book ,by Emma Rutherford is the most beautiful and sumptuous book on silhouettes I have ever seen.

Silhouettes in the 18thcentury were known in England as "shadows" or "shades" and in the early 19th century as "profiles'. Dorothy Wordsworth wrote to her friends in 1807, asking them to "send their profile" to her.

In France they gained the term "silhouette" by association with Etienne de Silhouette who was appointed France's Comptroller General( an equivalent post to our Chancellor of the Exchequer) during the year 1759 by Louis XIV. He levied land tax on France's nobles and reduced their pensions, and furthermore hurt their pockets by taxing all external signs of wealth. Opposition from the ancien regime,the nobility and the church-previously exempt from such audacious taxes -was loud. After only eight months in office he was forced to retire from his post to his château in the countryside.
There are two theories regarding the adoption of the term silhouette for this type of portraiture, and both reflect Monsieur Silhouette's unpopularity. The first comments upon the fact that taking a silhouette is a very quick process and as such it reflected Etienne de Silhouette's very short tenure in office. The second theory has it that as this type of portraiture was, in it's simplest state, the cheapest form of portraiture available at the time, it deserved to be named for him. Etienne 's hated penny-pinching methods of raising tax may therefore have associated his name for ever with this type of portraiture for, in France, the phrase a la silhouette came to mean to do anything " on the cheap".

It may interest you to know that the books explains that the "science" of physiognomy used silhouettes to determine a sitter's character.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By limey girl on November 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Silhouette: The Art of the Shadow This book is beautifully laid out to get the best of each silhouette. It shows the great variety of silhouettes such as painted, hollow cut, colored and directly cut from
black paper. If you think of silhouettes as being stodgy boring cut outs of old, fat ancestors, think again. There
are beautiful young people, elegant settings with gold surrounds and it makes one want a few of these on one's own
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By Diane G on March 24, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Love the book, great service.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
very good.
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