The History of Silhouettes

historical Silhouette image

Silhouettes a brief history.

Silhouetting or shadow portraits where are widespread practice by variety of artists in the first half of the 19th century.

Jane Austen Silhouette, 18th century
Jane Austen Silhouette, 18th century

It seems however that that due to the rise of modern photography an end was brought to this refined and delicate form of photographic art. Here at silhouettes we aim to bring the art of shadow portraits back to the 21st-century, would bespoke and precision manufactured silhouette designs, that are that are suited to a modern way of living and design.

The art of silhouettes has its origin from traditional profile portrait painting and miniatures. Early portrait  pictures date back to Egyptian tombs and so this knowledge of skill and craftsmanship got passed on through Greeks culture, medieval Art to the work of profilists. It was the French artist, Etienne de Silhouette, who  took shadow portraits to its next level thanks for the encouragement of madame the pompadour, Mistress of Louis XV. The matter is used by Mr the silhouette where however rather basic and Hardly changed from its early predecessors. Soon the silhouette became known by its name silhouettes could be bought are only a few friends making it available to both Poor and rich.


Augustin Edouart, A French immigrant living in the England, popularised the odds of silhouetting in England and the US. He advertise himself as the silhouettist, but soon discovered that the word silhouette was not popular and therefore he came up together with other professionals at time time in his industry with words such as Skiagraphy and Shadowgraphy, to practice and make popular the art of silhouetting. Some profilists, marketed themselves as scissorgraphists, as they would use simply a pair of scissors to cut out a silhouette image. The Best known artists of the time include Edouart, Hubard and even Goethe. Silhouettes became a true fashion statement that was not only a great success in England but was also carried over into Russia and the United States.

Silhouette movement flourished all the way during the jet black Georgian period do the late Victorian period, lending itself to many forms of artistic expression. The silhouette was is it painted drawn, engraved or sometimes even created from plaster. It also saw the rise of miniatures that were mounted in rings, pins and other jewels. Before the advent of photography it was the most inexpensive and novelty way to capture your image. Sadly silhouetting is no longer an everyday art with nowadays silhouetting having become a unique skill and gift. Here at we aim to bring silhouetting into the 21st-century using bespoke graphic design and precision manufacturing to create an intricate and detailed personalised gift.