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Pearce, Benjamin, the Elder

Date and place of birth:
Date and place of death:
(fl) c 1820-1840
Known places of work:
St Leonards
Known techniques:
Cut paper
Known materials:
Black paper


Recorded in Jackson’s ‘Dictionary’ and by Woodiwiss in ‘British Silhouettes’, Benjamin Pearce the Elder is known for a collection of cut black paper silhouettes displayed in Queen Victoria’s personal album, dated 1834.

Unfortunately, little is known about Pearce’s background except for an address in St Leonards, which is on the back of profiles of Queen Victoria and the Duchess of Kent. Evidently though, he travelled during his career, as a silhouette of Napoleon III taken at the Hotel des Invalides, Paris, is attributed to Pearce.

Benjamin Pearce the Elder appears to only have produced silhouettes cut in black paper. It is acknowledged that one of his best works is a silhouette of Queen Victoria herself taken shortly after her accession to the throne. All his work is signed, with an address inscribed on the reverse.

Additional research about Benjamin Pearce the Elder:

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

Pearce, Benjamin, the Elder (McKechnie Section 1)