Ebay fake silhouettes


A friend shared this silhouette on my Facebook page the other day to show how this fake silhouette is obviously copied from an authentic antique silhouette on my website by Dempsey.

Fake Dempsey silhouette from jamaicagirl727It makes me crazy when people copy pieces of authentic antiques then sell them as antique.  The ebay seller is offering the silhouette as follows:

Rare Antique Silhouette African American Woman Scarlett Dress Cut & Painted

Beautiful antique silhouette of lady in scale the dress, gold embellishment in hair. Seems to be wearing white gloves which look stunning against Scarlett.

Silhouette is on aged backing paper, lots of light yellowing and a few creases  in corners. L@@k,

One of several Beautiful antique Silhouettes from same collection. Silhouettes and photos dates from 1904 to 1929. I am still sorting collection dares may change.

Yellow light aging, some creasing and small tear on packing paper.

Solid hardwood black frame

Frame is in excellent very condition 


Here is a photo of the real Dempsey silhouette, which can still be seen on my Silhouettists Bios page. Dempsey woman 5114 01c 96px

Antique silhouettes and portraits of people of color are obviously very rare as few people of color had the opportunity or money to have their likenesses done in the 19th century.  However, this seller has offered 6 silhouettes of “African Americans” within the last 15 days.  She is also selling a group of photographs of African Americans which are, as far as I can tell, from the early 20th century and she claims that the fake silhouettes are from the same period.  However, the silhouettes are all from the last few years, if not months.  They are copies of silhouettes that the “artist” has seen lately.  Some have been changed so that they do have some features that indicate that the sitter is African American….some (such as the Dempsey fake) do not have features that would indicate a person of color.  I will never understand why people sell things like this.  Let’s start a campaign to send messages to this seller telling her we know that her silhouettes are new and that she should be ashamed of herself.

I sent a message to the ebay seller through the ebay system and here is how the correspondence went.

My message to her:

This silhouette is a modern fake. It is copied from a silhouette that is currently on my Silhouettist Bios page. African American silhouettes are very, very rare. The one you are offering in this listing has nothing to suggest that the woman was African American. While the other silhouettes that you have offered have some characteristics of people of color, none of the ones that you have offered or sold are “antique”, no matter how you define the word. You need to change your listings to reflect that these are modern reproductions or modern interpretations of antique silhouettes. Peggy McClard (you can find my Silhouettist Bios page with a simple google search, then look at the Dempsey listing for the authentic silhouette.)

Her response:

Ok…thank you so much for pointing it out. She definitely is too white looking to be called colored/African American. That’s very insulting to white women…not to mention if it was inspired by another piece of refined white lady.. . Double insult.
In the future will only list pieces as AFRICAN American if they have normal expected features….you know..big lips, nappy looking hair, slavish, etc. hope I didn’t insult too many people.
I’ll remove it straight away…
I appreciate the heads!
Thanks again.

She seems to have missed the point that the piece is listed as antique when it is a modern interpretation (or just fake).  Too bad she feels the need to make it sound like I am insulted because she claims the silhouette is of an African American when, in fact, real antique silhouettes of African Americans are much sought-after, by people of all races who collect antique silhouettes.  She did change the listing which now says:


Beautiful antique silhouette of lady in scarlett dress, gold embellishment in hair. Seems to be wearing white gloves which looks stunning against Red. 

Silhouette is sold as is….came along with other pieces dated 1928 and 1929. If it’s not black/colored enough or old enough don’t buy it..Keep looking…with all due respect.

One of several Beautiful antique Silhouettes from collection of Silhouettes and photos dating from 1904 to 1929. still sorting through collection. small tear in top left and bottom corners packing   paper. Silhouette is on yellowish backing paper, a few creases  in corners.(see photo)

She still calls it “Antique” and it still is a modern interpretation, at best.  Claiming that a silhouette is of an African American person still draws people who want it because it is something that this silhouette is not.  It is still a dishonest listing.