It is spring now, and I thought the quarrel with that wanna-be, silhouette expert from Texas, was over and done with. But I guess not, as she keeps at it on her little blog. She keeps picking sandgrain tidbits of nothing and tries to make something out of it. Why is she making a fool of herself? I don't understand.
As for myself, I need no introduction, as my nine years of blogging speaks for itself. I write about antique silhouettes for fun and pass on new information about them to help collectors and dealers; it is one of my hobbies. She sells silhouettes for a living, I don't. So my writings are unbiased.
That DEALER from Texas:
First, she writes very little on the subject (her silhouette artists bio is a laugh...she took them straight out of reference books without giving them any credits). Second, she is unable to tell fakes and reproductions from genuine 19th century silhouettes. Third, most of what she knows were learned by reading my blogs. Fourth, she still bases her little opinions on an outdated 1928 book by Alice van Leer Carrick. (By the way, Carrick's book is excellent, but my nine years of writing takes it way beyond her investigation. Carrick started it, and I am continuing it.)
So, what is this Texas dealer? She is a pothole, a menace for all to avoid. If some of you fall into it, this pothole gets bigger and bigger. Save costly alignment and go around that nuisance. What a wanna-be is what a wanna-be does. Spring is finally here. Get over it and move on!
Check out my other antique silhouettes site: http://silhouettesamericana.blogspot.com/
Sunday, March 16, 2014
FAKE Henry Williams Silhouette
I've covered plenty about this sort of 20th century silhouettes. These silhouettes are NOT 19th century. For a lot more about these fake WILLIAMS embossing, read my past posts. Originally from Hindman auction, Oct., 4, 2009, $400. It now belongs to a 'wanna-be" silhouette expert from Texas. I hope she did not sell it as a genuine 19th century silhouette!! She professes to know a lot about the subject, but she does not, and I feel sorry for her.
He worked in three disctinct styles: plain hollow-cut, hollow-cut with embellishment on black backing paper, fully painted. There are many fakes of all three styles out there. His authentic embossing stamp is very well made (see photo). It measures 21mm from one point to another. Fake stamps are quite crude and sizes differ widely. So if you don't know what to look for with his silhouettes, at least know what an authentic stamp measures and looks like. Bache had a tendency to stamp very close to bustline. So if you see a stamp that is distant from the bustline, you should examine further.
Perhaps, having done this for the last 5 years is paying off; I get about 1200-1500 hits a month nowadays! For such a specialized site, that is super-duper if you know what I mean, and this site is ad free! There is no wheeling-dealing going on here, unlike some other sites.
A few readers may question my views and conclusions on some subjects. First, I do not make up stuff. Second, I do not live in fantasy world. Anyone is free to make an argument on what I write, and I welcome every argument. I do play the devil’s advocate at times, however.
Sometimes, I question authenticity of silhouettes. I feel such challenges are good. I realize some dealers and collectors prefer to feel comfy with what they own, and they either hesitate or would not open a Pandora’s box for any reason. However, such boxes are quite fun to open. We may be rewarded with treasures, or goblins. The thing is we would never know if we keep the box locked.
Investigation of scarcely known silhouettes is like buying a watermelon. When it is priced per pound, we tend to pick the lightest watermelon out of the bunch. On the other hand, if they are all priced the same, say $5 each, we pick the largest. We can agree on this point more or less, can’t we? You may be wondering…what is this guy talking about? I am talking about how we usually pick watermelons based on price and price/weight. What does this have to do anything with “investigation of scarcely known silhouettes”? You have to read between the lines. Think about what I just wrote in bed tonight. You will know!
I wrote hundreds of posts on my 3 silhouette blogs (plus born-without-arms blog) over the years. Being not too bright, I did not notice my older post was being deleted each time I posted a new one. I believe I was able to recover all of my lost posts by archiving. So, check out my silhouette blogs I, II, and III. Click monthly archives either on left panel or all the way to the bottom for posts that do not appear on the pages. There is a lot of good information available within these posts.
"I am attaching several photos of the J. Bruff silhouette. Unfortunately, I could not get a good photo of the embossed insignia, but it is exactly like the one published on the website (J Bruff at top, Baltimore at bottom and star in center). This one also has a penciled name at the bottom, my guess, identifying the sitter in the portrait. Since the backing was not attached, I had it secured w/ framer points. As best as I can tell, it is the original frame (w/ the original glass and loop hardware at the top). As I stated before, I found it at a rummage sale and initially, was buying it just for the frame (I thought the silhoutte was probably a print). When I got home and examined it, I realized that it was authentic. It was truly a great find!"
"I have enjoyed the website and learning more about early American silhouettes."
"The painted silhouette is 18th century, on laid paper, and includes a very unusual tromphe l’oeil decorated mat painted on the paper (complete with shading that makes the mat look 3 dimensional). The silhouette bares the same notched bust line that we see on Bob’s painted lady and the hollow cut man cut by William M.S. Doyle. The painted silhouette has notched buttons which are similar to those cut by Mrs. Sarah Harrington (active in England about 1774-1787).
This pair appeared on eBay recently. The seller was kind enough to send me a close-up photo of the stamp. I do not know how many sets of dies Jones owned. As his working dates were brief, I cannot imagine him having made more than a single pair.
Some books mention his name as T.P. Jones, while others say F.P. Jones. The silhouette I own is clearly T.P. Jones; in fact, all the others I have seen that I know to be authentic are T.P. Jones. The silhouettes on eBay are very black and just did not seem to be the works of T.P. The border of this stamp differs excessively from the stamp used by T.P. These two silhouettes cannot possibly be from the 19th century; this pair is from the 20th century.
Another Peale Silhouette
This item is from an auction purported to be a rare one with a “PEALE” stamp. If the readers would browse below, I have listed two others very similar to this stamp. Please remember that my thoughts are just my opinion.
Even without a stamp, Peale silhouettes look Peale. The embossment is an additional proof. However, even with the stamp, the cuttings must represent the known bust curvatures by one of the so-called Peales, although very few were actually cut by the Peales.
1. The best one is when the curvatures represent Peale with a genuine embossment.
2. The second best is when the curvatures represent Peale but without the stamp.
3. Others are no good.
As for those busts that scarcely resemble any of the Peales’cuttings, and when the embossment is not quite correct, there is a very good reason to doubt their authenticity.
Added 6/25. It went as high as $137 but did not meet the seller's reserve. Blessing for the top bidder? Curse for the seller?
I placed bids on Williams, Day, and Jennys. A persistent floor bidder (non-eBay bidder) outbid me on Willy and Day. My bids for those two lots were $325, which is equal to about $400 after other expenses. I already own a Day, but the example there was a better example than what I have. I wanted it for upgrade. Prior to seeing that Day, I knew of only two examples: SamplerJane and mine. Now, it makes it three.
I had wanted the Williams. But then, I did not feel like entering a price war. Perhaps I should have placed a higher bid? If I placed a bid of $600, would I have won it? I felt that since I have seen other Williams from time to time, I figured there is always another chance to secure him. (Good thing I did not win it, as ALL Williams are now known to be 20th century creation)
For some reason or another, the floor bidder did not pursue my Jennys to an unusual extent. Perhaps the bidder did not recognize its rarity. To my knowledge, this piece is unique. Unless of course, SamplerJane comes back telling us that she owns an example. This Jennys is a decent looking young lady, and I am happy to have been able to add to my collection.
It is hard to imagine that Jones only brought $140. That is the price of a common Peale! Someone walked off with a bargain. A super looking Bache was taken at $300. A rare Peale brought about the right price of $425 or about $500 with expense added. Although the stamp itself is rare, I never really cared about the bustline that is always seen with this stamp. To me, it is not aesthetically appealing.
I do not know what the story is with one of the unattributed silhouettes. It brought $425! Can Someone tell me why it went so high?
C.W.Peale spelled his middle name funky, Willson. The auction site spells it “Wilson.” No point will be taken off for that, however. Since the auction page is copyrighted, I will mention that the images came from “iGavel.”
If you were to look at the left photograph embossing (genuine Peale), you will see that it is within an oval punch, and the letters are well-formed. On the other hand, the purported Peales are individual punches (for more on Peale stamps, see my article somewhere on this or another silhouettes page). Although the pictures are not very clear, I am sure you can see the differences in how the letters “LE” of PEALE are formed. On the left photo (genuine Peale), the right legs of those two letters go up straight, while those of the letters on the top right picture go out at a 45 degree angle. The leg of “L” almost touches or even touches the letter “E.” Also, note the last “E” of the bottom right photo. The right leg of it is very long and curves inward. All the letters of the two right photos are crudely formed.
The busts of the purported Peales, the two men, are not Peale-like. This is not to say that these types of busts were never cut there. It is just I do not remember ever seeing such lines. The lady has Peale-like attributes with its small notch at the bustline and the neck being off-centered in terms of the bust. However, the face is not Peale-like. This is a subjective part. Sometimes, the face tells a lot. From the photos, they all appear to be silhouettes from the early 1800s. I like the lady a lot. If not for the “addition,” that would have been a keeper.
I will let the good readers decide on the fate of these silhouettes. If a reader believe them to be from the Peale Museum, I would like to hear.
6/22/13.....I cannot believe how I was so~~~~~ careful in 2007. All three silhouettes are no-quesion 20th century cuttings, even the lady I liked.
I illustrate the close-ups of this man as it has two prominent marks left by the stylus. Again, these marks are only found on the first layer. The second layer below would not receive these marks. Something to ponder upon.
She writes, " The signature stamp does not say "Chapman Studios" it says "Chapman Siccauit". "Siccauit" is definitely Latin, but I can't find a translation. (Does anyone know the translation?) I have one with the same stamp, but it has a hollow cut head and shoulders, but the collar and shirt front are uncut with details added in watercolor."
I investigated the word "Siccauit" for quite a spell. The only reference I could find was in a relation to "eyes." It seems to be an adjective. The only Latin I know something about is with the inscriptions on old medals. I thought I knew a bit more than that. But after watching reruns of "Excorsist" I relaized that Morgan was not speaking Latin. She spoke English backwards. That is the extent of my Latin. Forgot... "caveat emptor" is Latin too. I know what that means.
As both Jane and Peggy own the silhouettes with the embossing in question, and me without the actual item in possession, I am, here, feeble at best. This is an interesting discussion, and I hope we are able to learn more about this "stamp."
(Aug. 2010) Check out my latest post on page III for new info on this embossment! They are all 20th century.
Jane writes, "I found both silhouettes at an antique dealers' home and at an antique show in this area. The embossed Chapman was at a dealer's home and in his personal collection. I was a novice at the time in horse trading, but ended up trading a small wooden stool, plus cash for the silhouette! It is in its original frame, untouched. The embossing says, "Chapman Studios" (The "S" in studios at the end is backwards! The type on the stamp must have been backwards! But it does say "Chapman Studios"...) This is the only example I have seen with this embossing. The white shade says:"Mr. Poole of of Topsfield" on one side, and on the front, "Probably by Chapman". This is valuable in that the shade is an exact copy of what Chapman advertizes on his broadside. The broadside was found at a show in New England; it is quite rare and is a wonderful read! These interant artists would travel from place to place and leave these broadsides on the counter by the check-in at a hotel, or with a keeper of a tavern. They would stay for a few days, and off they would go! Their horse would be waiting to travel to the next town! They would invite customers to their room in the hotel, and guarantee satisfaction! Chapman mentions his machine in the broadside. Quite a brazen fellow!! Quite sure of himself, don't you think? Moses was a very good salesman also, no doubt!"