Title: [EGLOMISE SILHOUETTE PROFILE PORTRAITS OF ...
Publisher: [N.p., but United States, ca. 1830].
12 x 16 inches, framed to 17 x 21 inches. Black paint on glass. Some light wear to frame. Very good. Pair of facing profile silhouette portraits, with Martha Washington on the left and George Washington on the right, framed in bordered ovals of worked design. The portraits are painted on the back of a glass panel in eglomise style. The figures are approximately six inches in height and appear to be after the famous portraits of the couple painted by James Sharples in 1798. James Sharples (1751-1811) was born in England and first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1779. Twice widowed, Sharples married again in 1787, taking as his third wife Ellen Wallace, who had been his pupil. The Sharples came to the United States about 1793 and worked in Philadelphia and New York until 1801. James did pastel portraits, which he is said to have executed in about two hours. Ellen Sharples sometimes produced copies of these for clients who wished more than a single example. The Sharples family returned to England in 1801, where James and Ellen continued their work, but they returned once again to New York in 1809. James died there in 1811, whereupon Ellen and the children returned to England for the last time. It was probably in 1797 at Mount Vernon that James achieved his long-standing ambition of portraying George Washington, finally retired to private life after his second term as President. His painting shows the elderly Washington in profile, somberly dressed, a man weighed down beyond his years by the weight of his responsibilities. The resulting portrait proved to be so popular that both James and Ellen are said to have copied the image regularly in response to the demand. Portraits of the President and First Lady remained popular, as evidenced by this later pair of silhouettes after Sharples original works. Bookseller Inventory # WRCAM 46241
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