nick's blog

Silhouette artists

Charles Burns is without doubt one of the greatest living silhouette artist in the UK and has cut many notable portraits, including two silhouettes of the Queen.

Photography matters

Taking high quality record photos of silhouettes is generally straightforward. In most instances, you have to deal with the issue of the glass in the  frame causing reflections but, overall, the process is usually fairly simple. Occasionally though, the silhouettes are painted onto the inside of convex glass and then the problems associated with reflection are compounded. We will be building a special rig to assist us get high quality results with such glass. A description of the rig, with photos to illustrate the arrangement, will follow, in due course.

Last SRG meeting

Today, our last University of Brighton  'Silhouette Research Group' meeting took place or, at least, the last one of this phase of work. Everyone now has a few more weeks to hand their work in for editing and then it's going off to the printers. Lots of finals exams, dissertation deadlines, etc, to cause stress as the deadline approaches, good luck all and many thanks for your efforts to date, looks like there will be some good research papers in due course.

Cover Design

As the Silhouette Research Group at the University of Brighton draws closer to completing its  work and submitting material  for editing, the matter of a cover design for the catalogue they are producing comes to the fore. A fabulous design student, Ness Wood, has been nominated to produce the cover, the work for which she now somehow has to fit into her PhD schedule. We are looking forward to seeing the initial concepts in a few weeks time.

Selecting images

Were are in the throes of choosing the images that will form the core collection offered on the website, the 500-600 key works that will tell the story of the silhouette in the UK through the last 250 years. It's a little more challenging than might first be imagined, assembling a definitive collection, for example, not all the works can be dated with precision, sometimes you would like a work by a particular artist but one is not readily available and occasionally there's an overwhelming choice!

A silhouette is born

As I sat in the office today, working on the Profiles project at my desk, i was unwittingly captured in silhouette form by Yvonne, one of our volunteers. It turns out the Yvonne is a very gifted artist and that she felt inspired by the project to turn her hand to the production of a few silhouettes. As time goes by, we aim to offer a series of workshops about making silhouettes, I think Yvonne might be one of the first in line for the advances sessions! 

Clearing copyright hurdles

In 1978, Mrs Sue McKechnie published 'Silhouette Artists and their Work 1760-1860'. This 799-page tome is now generally thought of as the bible of the silhouette world. We are working on bringing the content of the book to users of the Profiles website, as it's now very difficult and expensive to obtain a copy of the original volume. We have a number of steps to conclude before we can be sure of our ability to publish the content but, currently, all is looking promising, due to the rather unusual publishing arrangement Mrs Mckechnie used to get the work printed.

Silhouette Group meet

Today, we have had another meeting of the 'Silhouette Research Group' from the University of Brighton. All involved have now been given an online workspace, have been allocated a historic period to research and have been provided with a set of appropriate silhouettes. Everyone is committed to making good progress with their silhouette work, despite the competing academic demands. Many thanks to you all for your enthusiasm.

Look forward to seeing you again on the 1st of March, when we are scheduled to next meet. 

Thank you, U of Brighton

Over the last couple of months we have been in discussion with renowned costume historian, Professor Lou Taylor, and others from the School of Humanities at the University of Brighton, about setting up a University 'Silhouette Research Group'. The intention being that the Group will look, specifilcally, at the material culture of silhouettes and related dress history. There has been great interest in this idea, amongst both faculty and students at the University and a team of some ten peoople has now been drawn together to undertake work.

Thank you HLF

Today, we received our 'Permission to Start' from the financial sponsor of the Profiles of the Past project, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

We are delighted to have received the go ahead for Profiles, a project we have long planned and sometimes despaired of launching, due to competing work pressures.

Now, everything is in place and we are about to embark on the long process of gathering the required assets for the project.

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