Renowned Silhouette Artist Cuts Portraits


Experience the timeless artistry of nationally renowned silhouette artist Deborah O’Connor at Windsor Historical Society on Saturday, November 29th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  O’Connor, a master artist with scissors, will create a profile portrait bust of your child, your infant, your pet (leashed or in a carrier, please), or you in about five minutes. She can work from photographs providing the subject is turned to the right.  The cost is $30 for an original silhouette, $15 for a copy with 8”x10” mattes available for $10 and 11” x 14” mattes for $15.  Your silhouette will come mounted on your choice of white or ivory card stock.  Limited quantities of wooden oval frames in black with gold leaf are available.   Silhouette portraits by Deborah O’Connor are remarkable likenesses.  They make wonderful holiday gifts and will become treasured family heirlooms.


Before the rise of photography in the mid-nineteenth century, few people could afford to have a portrait painted.  Cut-paper silhouettes were a far less expensive way of recording a person’s image for posterity, and these became quite popular in 18th century Europe and America.  The word “silhouette” commemorates French finance minister Etienne de Silhouette, who imposed harsh economic demands on the French people in the mid-18th century to curb a national deficit.  Taxation is never popular, and de Silhouette’s name became associated with cut black paper profiles -- the cheapest way of capturing a likeness.


Perhaps the most famous silhouette maker of the 19th century was Auguste Edouart, a Frenchman, who traveled widely in Europe and America.  Edouart’s full length silhouettes are quite valuable today and can be found in many museum collections.  After the mid-19th century, daguerreotypes and photographic portraits replaced silhouettes as the preferred way of having one’s likeness captured.  But itinerant silhouette artists continued to cut portraits on street corners and at fairs.  For a time in the early 20th century, silhouetted scenes were popular illustrations in children’s literature and poetry.


Reserve your portrait time slot with Deborah O’ Connor today by calling 860-688-3813, ext. 102.  Your reservation guarantees an appointment; walk-ins will be accommodated only if time allows.  This will be Deborah O’Connor’s only pre-holiday appearance in the Greater Hartford area.  Windsor Historical Society’s Faces of Windsor photography exhibition and Hands-On-History Learning Center will be open to the public for the day at no charge. 


Back to Past Programs