Monday, 13 August 2018

Also, you don't have to do ears.

Here's something I didn't know: silhouettes were, as you might not be surprised to learn, named after a Monsieur Silhouette. But, as you might be surprised to learn, he didn't invent them. √Čtienne de Silhouette was an unpopular French finance minister in the 18th Century who imposed austerity measures so fierce that to do something '√† la Silhouette' became slang for to do it on the cheap. And having your silhouette cut or drawn was a lot cheaper then having a miniature painted...

I was going to illustrate this with a picture of a silhouette which is thought to be a self-portrait by Jane Austen. But unfortunately, I looked into it, and it turns out there's another, more persuasive theory which is: no it's not. So instead, here's a couple of mine. It turns out silhouettes are a good way of doing quick sketches of people sat next to you at the British Library, because it only takes a few crafty sideways glances now and then, and then the rest is just colouring in.

No, neither are self-portraits.