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Pye, John (McKechnie Section 3)

Recorded by Mr J. A. Pollak (‘Fresh Light on Silhouette', Connoisseur, March 1949). This artist was probably the engraver John Pye (fl. 1758-74), who worked in line, etching, and stipple, specializing in painting and engraving looking-glasses, and was one of the artists who worked for John Boydell (see Shakespeare Gallery, Section One). Mr Pollak has told me that his information was provided by the late Mr W. P. Perkins, who must have seen a silhouette included on an example of the artist's painted and engraved glass. Graves (The Society of Artists of Great Britain) lists exhibits (all engravings) sent in from London addresses 1769-73.

John's brother, C. Pye (fl. 1777-1864), was an engraver who was a pupil of J. Heath, the engraver and art publisher (1757-1834).

I have seen no example of John Pye's work. He probably engraved the panels above or at the sides of looking-glasses and occasionally included black silhouettes in these panels, possibly using the verre églomisé technique. He might also have painted profiles on the elaborate glass mourning pieces of the period.

Some eighteenth-century looking-glasses are backed with trade cards, and Pye might have engraved his own card or label for this purpose.