William Doyle

The following comes from Peggy, one of our readers.

"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).

Through his advertisements we know that Doyle sold painted silhouettes, hollow cut silhouettes and full color portrait miniatures at least as early as 1806. In 1806 he would have been 37 years old. It is unlikely that an artist with the outstanding talent of Doyle would have waited until he was 37 years old to start working as an artist. I expect that Doyle worked as a professional silhouettist and portrait artist from around 1785.

We know that he studied the English silhouettists because he advertised that he painted miniatures “on plaster in the manner of the celebrated Miers of London.” I think it likely that the 18th century painted man and Bob’s painted lady were both done by Doyle in the manner of the English silhouettists that he studied and with the outstanding quality of his full color portrait miniatures."

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