This silhouette, circa 1840 - 1850, depicts a chess game between George Spackman (seated on left) and the Athenaeum's Librarian, William McIlhenney, Jr. (seated at right), who was said to be passionately fond of chess.
The silhouette (also known as a "shade" or "shadow") was an inexpensive and popular form of portraiture from about 1780 to 1850. This example is probably by Auguste Edouart (1788-1861), a French emigre who cut his first silhouette in the United States in 1839.
November 8th, 2018
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