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Kendrick, James (McKechnie Section 2)

Not primarily a silhouette artist, Kendrick is listed here by reason of a book of his compilation which included, among other illustrations, a series of thirty-nine lithographed silhouettes. Born in Warrington, Kendrick graduated in medicine in Edinburgh. He practised as a doctor in Warrington. A keen antiquarian, he was a member of the British Archaeological Association, and in 1859 became Curator of the Warrington Museum.

In 1853 Kendrick published his book: Profiles of Warrington Worthie (Warrington, J. Haddock and Sons). This book contained the series of lithographed silhouettes (almost all of eighteenth-century subjects), engraved by S. Holden after original profiles by Kendrick. The engravings were accompanied by short biographical notes on the sitters. Other plates (representing historic buildings in the city, lithographed by H. J. Bellares) were included. An examination of the manuscript shows that most of the silhouettes had been adapted by Kendrick himself, since some bear his signature; though the remainder were unsigned, Mr George A. Carter, the Chief Librarian of the Municipal Library, Warrington, gave me his opinion that in fact Kendrick had adapted all these silhouettes.

Among the profiles was one of Mrs Barbauld (q.v.); this is illustrated by Mrs Peggy Hickman (Two Centuries of Silhouette). I have illustrated another page from Kendrick's book. Many of the examples (which are of varying dates) appear to be based on originals dating from the late eighteenth century (probably the 1780s); at least one of these (Nicholas Clayton: see my illustration) appears to have been adapted from John Miers's work. This page is signed at the bottom, on the left, 'Kendrick direxit'. The use of 'direxit' (the past tense of the Latin verb meaning make straight' or 'to regulate') is unusual; in this context it seems to mean 'adapted', which would confirm that Kendrick based the pieces in question on earlier profiles. In the course of his professional duties, Kendrick might well have had opportunities of noting earlier profiles in the houses of his patients. On none of the silhouettes which I examined were the sitters shown in the costume of the 1850s, when the book was published.

Holden may have been the S. Holden listed by Graves as having exhibited flower subjects at the Royal Academy 1845-47 from Greenwich. There is only the vaguest possibility that he might have been connected with the engraver H. W. Holden (q.v.).

Most of the silhouettes are of the plain black type, though one (illustrated), of one Anne Blackburne, shows the frill at the top of her dress in transparency. Bust-lines vary considerably.

Ill. 875

Page from James Kendrick’s book, Profiles of Warrington Worthies (Warrington, 1853), showing engravings by S. Holden of silhouettes taken by Kendrick.


Municipal Library, Warrington