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Adelaide Gallery

Date and place of birth:
Date and place of death:
(fl) Presumed early to mid nineteenth century
Known places of work:
Known techniques:
Cut paper
Known materials:


A gallery more famously known for its innovations in the Daguerreotype Process, the Adelaide Gallery was nevertheless home to a number of silhouette artists, working presumably in the early to mid nineteenth century. While only one signed example from the Gallery has been found, it is of exceptional quality with very fine bronzing.

The Adelaide Gallery was based on Adelaide Street, London to the north of The Strand. The only existent signed silhouette from the Gallery is dated 1841 and is the work of an A. Darbyshire. Research has also pointed to one Barber working there at a roughly contemporary period, though his identity remains unclear. There is no evidence as to how long the silhouette studio was in business. The single signed example is housed in a gilt frame with a trade label on the reverse reading 'GALLERY OF THE FINE ARTS'. There is also evidence of a royal crest, though whether the Gallery or the frame-maker was under Royal Appointment remains unclear.

The work from the Adelaide Gallery signed by Darbyshire is of very high quality. It is of a male naval subject, cut from black paper and finished with bronzing, gold and gum Arabic. These finishing techniques have been used with exceptional care and attention for the period, emphasising the reflected light from the sword and belt of the subject. However, the lack of examples of the Gallery’s output means it is very difficult to generalise about a ‘house style’. Today the Gallery is more known for its pioneering work in early photography, and is regarded as an important part of the early to mid nineteenth century artistic world.

Additional research about Adelaide Gallery:

Source: McKechnie (Author of, British Silhouette Artists and their Work 1760-1860)

Adelaide Gallery (British Silhouette..., Section 1, 1978)