Edouart, Augustin

Date and place of birth:
Dunkerque, France 1789
Date and place of death:
Guines, France 1861
(fl) 1825 -1849
Known places of work:
Known techniques:
Cut white paper
Known materials:
Maple & Ebonised Wood


A renowned master of the silhouette world, Augustin Edouart was incredibly skilled at freehand cutting from black paper. He was very well-regarded by contemporaries, and profiled celebrities such as Sir Walter Scott. His work was meticulous, so much so that he produced duplicates of all his silhouettes, named and dated. It is from these folios that we gain an insight into Edouart’s prolific travels as a silhouette artist.

Born in France in 1789 Edouart travelled to England in 1814, where he initially advertised himself as an artist in hair pictures. It wasn’t until 1825 that Edouart, living in Cheltenham, started to produce cut paper silhouettes. It is evident from his detailed folios that Edouart then spent 14 years travelling through England, Scotland and Ireland producing thousands of silhouettes. He went on to spend a further 10 years travelling America as a profilist. There are eight known trade labels on the back of Edouart’s silhouettes, and almost all of his work is signed and dated on the front, either by hand or by stencil. Frames appeared to be flat edged maple veneer. It was in 1849, whilst travelling to France, that Edouart was in a shipwreck and many of his folios were destroyed. 12,000 silhouettes out of 100,000 were recovered. However, he never returned to silhouette work and died at Guines in 1861 aged 72.

Edouart’s early work appears to be on white paper which was then blackened. He later cut directly from plain black paper. His work had little detail, save for a few silhouettes in the United States, which had some lines on them to indicate clothing detail. His particular skill was in freehand cutting and he could produce life-like profiles in a matter of minutes. Edouart mostly produced full length profiles of sitters in groups rather than on their own. They were set against lithographed or painted backgrounds, and were on average 7.5 inches in height. Edouart did produce some bust-length profiles, of which the terminations are inconsistent. Today, some of Edouart’s silhouettes are displayed in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Additional research about Augustin Edouart:

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

Edouart, Augustin (McKechnie Section 1)

Source: Joll (Hon. Secretary of the Silhouette Collectors Club and Editor of the Club's newsletter)

Edouart, Augustin (SCC Newsletter August 2002)
Edouart, Augustin (SCC Newsletter June 1996)
Edouart, Augustin (SCC Newsletter March 1997)

Gallery Silhouettes

Full-length silhouette of man