Thursday, March 20

The History of Silhouettes

Isn't this silhouette lovely? I have always wondered about the history of these wonderful pieces of art, so tonight I did a bit of investigating.

Silhouettes have captured the imagination of people since the early 18th century. The first silhouttes were painted images of the subject's shadow and were referred to as shades. English royalty made this art form very popular. Artists would attend formal gatherings such as balls and other social events and paint the shadows of lords and ladies. The art form then moved swiftly across Europe.

In France, the peers of Etienne de Silhouette were very impressed with his technique and attached his name to this lovely art form. Silhouettes were used in brochures, magazines and pictures in the US and Canada during the late 1800s and early 1900s. At this time the art form hit new heights. They were replaced by photography in the mid 20th century.

Today silhouettes are still seen in magazines, on billboards and are used in many different forms of advertising, but they aren't as popular as they were at one time.

While surfing a free photo share site, I came across this silhouette. It reminded me of two that I have that hung in my parent's house when I was a child. They had once belonged to my great-grandmother. They now belong to me and hang in my house as a reminder of bygone days.

This is my second week of particpating in Friday Flea Market. Be sure to check out the treasures I have this week at Mary's Vintage Flea Market. Included are vintage prints, vintage luncheon plates with matching tea cups that fit right onto the plate, a Queen Anne bone china cup and saucer and a reproduction of a vintage marriage certificate that is blank and can be filled in to use as a beautiful wedding or shower gift.

Show and Tell Friday is cancelled this week due to Easter. I will be participating as usual next Friday.

I wish all of my readers a wonderful Good Friday. Enjoy the day with your family. ~Blessings, Mary~


  1. What fascinating information! I had no idea, nor had I ever thought about where these come from.

  2. Good Early Morning Mary,
    I am having another sleepless night again. LOL. I just put up my post for today while I am still awake. I really enjoyed reading the history of the silloutes. I know I didn't spell that right. When our youngest daughter was in Kindergarten, one of the helpers made a sillouette of each student and they were given to us Mother's for Mother's Day. I still have it and I need to find a frame for it. I wish she had still been a helper when our youngest daughter was in Kindergarten so she could have done her's as well. I do treasure that sillouette very much. I looked at all of your treasures you have on your Friday Flea Market and you have some very beautiful things there. I bet Michelle really appreciated the Vintage Marriage Certificate with the boys signature on it. I love your Easter Header as well. Take care my friend and have a great day/weekend. May God Bless You and Yours.

    Love & Hugs,
    Karen H.

  3. very interesting post Mary... I enjoy learning the origin of husband calls it nosy I call it an inquiring mind..(smile)
    Have a wonderful blessed Easter with your family...

  4. Good Happy Friday Morning Mary! I now remember, from reading your background research, the ones we did when we were kids in school...where we sat by a lamp and the teacher drew our reflective outline on paper! Then we'd cut it out along the pencil lines and paste it to another sheet of paper and we ended up giving this to our mothers on Mother's Day.

    Hmmmmmmmm, mine now would look like all bumps and crevices where it used to be smooth and shapely. rofl.

    [You may have missed your gift I made for you and posted about it on Thursday's blog entry...dunno. But if you still want it, it's there for you.]

    Happy day to you.

  5. Happy Spring and Happy Easter.
    This is the day the Lord hath made, let
    us rejoice and be glad in it..

    love you.

  6. I haven't seen one of those in years. . .I too had one made of me and my brother when we were in grade school.

    Thanks for taking us back, to times of beauty.

  7. Mary
    Thanks for all the wonderful info that you pass along to us. Peace be with you.

  8. Yes, a nice post. Have a good Good Friday and happy Easter to you and yours.

  9. This was really interesting, thanks for sharing dear.

  10. Mary,

    Thank you for this very interesting article about silhouettes! They are lovely!

    Happy Easter!

  11. That was really interesting Mary thanks for sharing it. :)

  12. I love silhouettes but haven't even one. I must do something about that.....Oh, wait a minute. I DO have one, of myself, that I had done at a church function once. I had forgotten it. It must be in my cedar chest....
    Thanks for the information....
    hugs, bj

  13. Wishing you the sight of golden daffodils in the sunshine on this blessed Easter weekend!
    sunkissed NG

  14. Have a Blessed Easter Mary:)
    love ya,

  15. Interesting post Mary! Also congratulations on your daughter's marriage. That must have made you so happy! The pictures are great, thank you for sharing them with us. We all have lots to be thankful for don't we? Sometimes I forget just how many things I do need to be thankful for but I never forget the one thing that I am most thankful for and that is that Jesus died on the cross for us all! Happy Easter!

  16. How neat... Thanks for the info. Love the picture..
    Have a Happy Easter Weekend!