The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

Silhouettes display, 2004-05

Silhouettes logo

Past display archive 
11 September 2004 - 26 June 2005

Room 16


This display celebrates the enduring art of the silhouette, from its eighteenth-century 'scientific ' beginnings to its explosion as an affordable form of popular portraiture. Silhouettes of Nelson and Wellington from life are displayed alongside work by the nineteenth- century master Augustin Edouart and the sitter books of the Brighton Pier silhouettist Hubert Leslie, who cut thousands of portraits for holidaymakers in the 1920s and 1930s.

The display is divided up into the following sections:

- Introduction
- The Corinthian Maid and the Swiss Pastor
- Royalty and Celebrity
- The Spread of the Silhouette
- Augustin Edouart's Revival
- The Decline of the Silhouette
- The Contemporary Silhouette

Top: Composite image, from left to right:

- John Henry Alexander; Mr Weekes; John Francis Theodon; John Lloyd , 1832
- Mrs Robert Beveridge; Anne Beveridge; Andrew Beveridge; Hugh Beveridge; Robert Beveridge
, 1832
- Jane Anderson; Esther Ainslie; Helena Anderson; Mrs Arkley; Charles Atherton
, circa 1830
- Sarah Siddons; Tyrone Power; Tyrone Power, 1832

4 silhouettes by Augustin Edouart (1789-1861)



Gallery blog

Read our latest news and have your say.

Join the conversation

Tell us More about our silhouettes, photograph of Hubert Leslie, Silhouettist

Identify our Silhouettes

Join enthusiastic contributors who have already identified 155 sitters.

Help transcribe signatures

Tell us More about our Silvy sitters, photograph of Camille Silvy, photographer with boy

Tell us more about our Silvy sitters

Help us identify the sitters who visited Camille Silvy’s photographic studio during the 1860s.

Identify our sitters