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Maker(s):Nellis, Sanders Ken Grems
Culture:American (1817-1865)
Date Made:1839
Materials:paper; black plain weave silk; ink; wood; glass
Place Made:United States
Measurements:Frame: 7 1/4 x 5 5/16 x 11/16 in; 18.4 x 13.5 x 1.7 cm; Sheet: 4 7/16 x 3 3/4 in; 11.3 x 9.5 cm
Accession Number:  HD 2010.23.2
Credit Line:Hall and Kate Peterson Fund for Paintings, Prints, Drawings and Photographs
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Framed hollow-cut, bust-length silhouette of a boy done with a layer of black plain weave fabric, possibly silk, visible through the cut upper layer of off-white paper following a design drawn out in pencil before being cut; over the cursive ink inscription: "Charles [G?] Leonard when he / as a small Boy The above was / cut by Nellis a no arm boy cut / with his toes Aug 1839." Born in Stone Arabia, New York, Sanders Ken Grems Nellis (1817-1865) was one of six children of Johannes Phillip Nellis (1788-1837) and Gertrude Armstrong Nellis (Jul. 20, 1788 - Oct. 2, 1872). Born with dwarfism, Sanders Nellis also did not have arms. According to broadsides and advertisements of the period, Nellis cut silhouettes, valentines, and watch papers, folded letters, and made boxes. He also did a variety of physical feats such as wind a watch, dance a hornpipe, shoot a bow and arrow, and play the bass viol. On a trip abroad in Santiago, Chile, in the 1860s, Nellis had his photograph taken (see Nellis' carte-de-visite, 2010.23.3), giving us a rare look at this talented individual.

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