Adolphe, Edgar, Monsieur

Date and place of birth:
Unknown, France
Date and place of death:
(fl) 1832-1846
Known places of work:
Known techniques:
Painted on card
Known materials:
Rectangular giltwood and rosewood


Monsieur Adolphe was a prolific and accomplished profilist working in France and Brighton throughout the 1830s and 40s. Most famous for his posthumous profile of George IV, his work is identifiable through its frequent use of colour and clear signatures.

Originally working in France for King Louis Philippe, it is unknown what brought Adolphe to Brighton. He is first found in the city in 1839 where he remained until at least 1846. Adolphe painted primarily on card – while McKechnie has suggested he worked on convex glass, this remains uncertain. He painted bust, ¾ and full length pieces, as well as compositions and profile miniatures at full and bust-length. Frames were probably originally rectangular, of plain giltwood then rosewood, though many pieces have later been cut for papier-mache frames. Eight known trade labels exist. Adolphe frequently signed his work, often on the shadow line below the bust-line termination, and varied his style from capitals to cursive

Though he did paint in black, Adolphe’s style is defined by its use of colour and embellishments. Green-grey, blue-grey and dark grey watercolor were the most popular shades, while he favoured gold, gum Arabic and Chinese white for detail. Many profiles have a line of shadow, composed of thinned black pigment, below the bust-line termination. Known full-length profiles all show a planked flooring painted in brown and creamy yellow. His work, particularly reproductions of the George IV profile, was popular. Today he is seen as an accomplished profilist with Joll particularly emphasizing his artistic skill.

Additional research about Monsieur Edgar Adolphe:

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

Adolphe, Edgar, Monsieur (British Silhouette..., Section 2, 1978)
Adolphe, Edgar, Monsieur (British Silhouette..., Section 3, 1978)
Adolphe, Edgar, Monsieur (British Silhouette..., Section 6, 1978)

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

Adolphe, Edgar, Monsieur (SCC Newsletter, January 2007)

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