A SMALL COLLECTION OF ANTIQUE SILVER AND OBJECTS OF VERTU

cut metal silhouette


pierced silhouette this is an antique metal silhouette representing a couple on a tandem bicycle with first '900 suits and tennis rackets.
The silhouette is cut out by hand from a thin sheet of white metal and is of artisanal production.
The metal is not silver but an alloy of other materials. I believe it's 'German silver' or 'alpaca', an alloy of copper, zinc and nickel discovered by a German industrial chemist E.A. Geitner in early 19th century.
The silhouette has piercing and engraving on the figures and a wide reserve not engraved. I ignore its origin and use.
In America, paper Silhouettes were highly popular from about 1790 to 1840. The invention of the camera signaled the end of the Silhouette as a widespread form of portraiture. However, their popularity is being reborn in a new generation of people who appreciate the Silhouette as a nostalgic and unique way of capturing a loved one's image.
The name Silhouette traces back to the mid-18th century French finance minister, Etienne de Silhouette. Because his name was synonymous with doing things cheaply and because he was fond of making these images himself, this art form was named after him.
This silhouette is 11 in. wide (cm. 28) and was bought from an Italian dealer in an Antique Market.

This item is not for sale, but most of my pieces were bought through the Internet. On the the bottom and on the right bar of this page there are some links to silver and antique dealers websites

English home page
www.silvercollection.it

This is a page of 'The What is? Silver Dictionary' of A Small Collection of Antique Silver and Objects of vertu, a 1500 pages richly illustrated website offering all you need to know about antique silver, sterling silver, silverplate, Sheffield plate, electroplate silver, silverware, flatware, tea services and tea complements, marks and hallmarks, articles, books, auction catalogs, famous silversmiths (Tiffany, Gorham, Jensen, Elkington), history, oddities ...

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