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Barber, Charles Louis

Date and place of birth:
Date and place of death:
(fl) 1820-1834
Known places of work:
Known techniques:
Cut paper
Known materials:
Not Recorded


Charles Louis Barber was a very skilled artist, working across England for a period of fourteen years. McKechnie describes him as an artist of “extraordinary talent”, and his work is particularly admired for its detailed depiction of human faces and figures.

Little is known of Barber’s life. From advertisements and trade labels it is clear that worked as an itinerant artist for most of his career, frequently moving around England. He had a prolific career and appears to have been popular with contemporaries. It is currently believed that work by another artist, previously identified as M S Barber, is in fact a misattribution of Charles Louis Barber silhouettes. Trade labels for Barber have been discovered. These tell us that he was able to cut a silhouette, by hand, in around ten seconds.

Charles Louis Barber was an accomplished artist, and appears to have been confident in both cut and painted profiling. He completed his work without machinery, a typical shortcut for early 19th century silhouettists, instead sketching and cutting by hand. He had a unique style which focused on the detail of human faces and figures; eyelashes for example are faithfully and skillfully executed. His work also frequently featured animals as part of the composition. Barber is popular with collectors today, and has a strong following in America.

Additional research about Charles Louis Barber:

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

Barber, Charles Louis (McKechnie Section 1)