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Maker(s):"Red Book Artist" (attributed to)
Title:silhouette: Ruth Holt Hovey
Date Made:ca. 1840
Materials:wood, gilding, paper, gouache, watercolors, black textile (silk?), pencil, ink
Place Made:United States; New Hampshire; Peterborough
Measurements:Frame: 5 1/16 x 4 3/16 x 5/8 in; 12.9 x 10.6 x 1.6 cm; Sheet: 4 1/4 x 3 1/4 in; 10.8 x 8.3 cm
Accession Number:  HD 2015.36.50
Credit Line:Anonymous bequest
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Silhouettes were the most expedient and inexpensive form of portraiture available to New Englanders in the early 19th century. Profiles were so cheap, costing about ten cents apiece, that an artist's profit was dependent on making them as quickly as possible. Silhouette profile portrait of a woman, the paper has a cut out of her profile face and is further decorated with paint, pencil and ink, the woman has curls on her head, a ruffled collar, a fishu with small stars and sprigs, a black dress with puffy sleeves, a belt with white buckle, she holds a red book in one hand, and her other hand is white against the black of her dress, she is framed in a molded gilt frame, glass is cracked, original hanging ring at top of frame, On backboard is pasted modern paper labels: one is "XI" and the other "Cora A. How's/Grandmother/Hovey/ From Sidney (Fletcher. 2n?)/His wife was a Howe?/E.E.M." and in pencil on the backboard, "Peterboro, N.H./ Cora A. Howe's/Grandmother/Hovey/E. Meyer"; Condition: the front of the paper silhouette is stained all over in a brownish tint from the wooden backboard, there appears to be a water stain near the sitter's collar. Cora A. Marden (b. 1863) married Albion P. Howe in Peterborough, NH in 1881. Her mother and father were Samuel Marden and Asenth B. (Hovey) Marden. Her mother's parents were Timothy Hovey and Ruth Holt Hovey (1812-1874). This image probably depicts Ruth Holt Hovey. This silhouette portrait has characteristics similar to other works done by the "Red Book Artist" as listed in the exhibition catalogue A Loving Likeness: American Folk Portraits of the Nineteenth Century, from The Gallery at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Princeton, New Jersey, April 4-May 17, 1992, pp. 48-49.

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