Do not buy!

I’m just going to say, don’t buy this pair of fake Doyle silhouettes.  Don’t blame the seller because everyone can not know everything about every category.  But the cutting of these silhouettes is very inferior to the work of Doyle.Ebay listing of fake Doyle silhouettes  I messaged the buyer to tell her nicely that they are not real.

Here is my message to her: “I am sorry but think you should know that the pair of silhouettes you are offering are reproductions. They were made in the early decades of the 20th century when interest in antique silhouettes was at its height because of pioneer collectors/scholars. A number of companies began making repros that were meant to be sold as such. As time passed, these became aged looking and began being sold as antique–19th century. If you take them out of the frames you will see that what is meant to look like reverse painted glass mats is (if I remember correctly from last time I opened a pair like this) actually printed on either thin matboard or on the silhouette paper. I’m sorry I can’t remember exactly about the mats, but I do remember that they are not painted glass. These silhouettes are inferior to the ones that Doyle and/or cut. They would have originally had a label on the back but that is almost always missing now.”

Here is her response: “You are incorrect these are original cut silouettes by the welknown artist Doyle. They are signed by the artist in pencil. They have been in my family for over 100 years.”

So, if they were in her family for 100 years, that says they were in her family since about 1920.  That is right about the time that reproductions of 19th century were being made and sold. Doyle died in 1828.  As I said, we can’t expect all people to know everything about everything.  My goal is to educate.  Right now, I’m trying to educate you not to buy repros and fakes–unless you are paying appropriately for what you are buying.

The Fake Edouarts Keep on Coming!

fake bust 01-401726160104The fake Edouarts on ebay never end.  Today’s fake is a bust-length. You likely have no reason to recognize Edouart’s bust termination line because he did so few.  I will add some real ones for you to compare–but even without that specialized knowledge, look for the problems. First, no eyelash. Since Edouart cut nice delicate eyelashes, you should see one. Second, Edouart cut away a sliver of a gent’s silhouette to depict the white collar. This white collar is chalked in–you have to enlarge and look closely at the edge of the white where you can see how the chalk goes into the black. Third, whether it looks real, don’t trust “granny notes” as if they are proof. I don’t know whether the collection label is legit or not. I found a couple of unrelated pieces of art that are said to have a provenance of Arthur De La Poer Rowbothem but haven’t seen the labels. I know that collection labels were faked in the early decades of the 20th century. I have seen multiples of a collection label for a collection that never existed…I can’t tell you anything about this one. The written inscription is in brown ink…when there is no reason for the ink not to be black since Arthur De La Poer Rowbothem was still alive in 1954–to late for iron gall ink to be necessary. I can’t read all of the inscription but I can “original inscription on Back of card.”  I have no reason to know that the inscription naming the sitter and artist exist at all or can be authenticated.  What I have reason to know is that this silhouette is not by Edouart.  If you want to see this item, ebay search 401726160104.fake bust 02-401726160104

Closer Look at Too Fake to Leave Along

I got a few comments which show that my readers have learned well about spotting fakes. Someone drew us to the heavy eyelashes, crude & jagged cutting, black lettering and a bit more. All good catches but I want to delve further with you.  First, another look at the whole then we will get to the details.fake-11

I am totally shocked at those horrid thick eyelashes!  Especially the two at the top.  View the fake and a real Edouart that has really been through Hell (went down with the ship) but still exhibits Edouart’s delicate eyelash.










Hands meant so much to Edouart and he cut them well.  Side by side fake vs real.  No contest.

fake-11-handsfake 3-hands

The poor lady above left has one claw and one club.  I can’t even imagine what happened to the above right gent’s hand!


Above is a real Edouart showing the delicate and graceful hands he cut.

I don’t know how to classify this issue but the harpist’s arm rolls over the harp like a snake!!!!  My goodness–Run Girl Run before that snake bites you!  His mouth is already opened!


I have only seen one of Edouart’s harps but compare the fake (below left) to real (below right).

When looking at the quality of cutting, compare the fake below left which shows ladies’ hair and dresses with the real one below right. 


The last point I want to make is the writing.  Some people got the fact that the writing is black whereas Edouart always used iron gall ink which has all turned brown by now. But I hope you will look at the writing itself to compare to Edouart’s real writing so you can see the fakeness.  Beyond the color, look at all of the handwriting and the differences between each entry which we are led to believe is an original grouping in original frame.  First, assume he cut and wrote each of these on the same day.  Find all of the capital letters “A”.  Edouart’s signature sometimes had a capital “A” to begin Augustin and sometimes had a small “a” made larger to show the capitalization.  One thing that never varied is that he used his signed his first name as Aug with a superscript n with two vertical lines below.  Please look at the fake signatures/dates/places directly below and compare them to the real signatures I have included below that.  There are so many discrepancies in the fake that I don’t have the time to discuss them right now.  If someone really wants more discussion about the writing, please let me know by comment and I’ll write more another day.


Fake above

Real signatures above.

This is all I can manage today.  The reason for this post is to make sure you don’t get screwed buying a fake, at least not a bad fake like the one on ebay now.  And educated buyer is a safer buyer.

Too Fake to Leave Alone

Pick out some features that scream fake!

UPDATE: It’s back up for bid on ebay.  Please don’t be fooled.  It is such a horrible fake.  If you want to see it for your self, search ebay for item number 313055466032.

I haven’t posted in way too long.  So much water under the bridge…too much to go into.  But, looks like I might be baaaccckkk!  At least, here is a push start.  I saw this on ebay and just can’t let it go.  If you bid on this I may have to spank your hand and suspend your buying privileges!  This is one of the worst fake Edouart silhouettes that I have ever seen–and believe me, I have seen a lot!  So, I’m going to play teacher and, students, before you read further, tell me what are some elements that tell you this is fake.

I am not sure I can leave this without more comment but I’m going to try to leave it and come back tomorrow….today, give me your thoughts.

Recent “Edouarts” sold at auction

Such a shame that these fake Edouarts recently were offered at auction.  I’ll call upon my kind readers to tell me why we know these silhouettes are fake.

Neals Auction lot 202 151121Neal Auction Company sold this very fake Edouart for $735 in its November 21-22, 2015 auction.  It is signed, dated 1844 and inscribed “New Orleans”.  Realize there are very few Southern cut silhouettes by Edouart and fake ones come up much more than real ones.



Cresent City Lot 388 1411This same silhouette sold at Crescent City Auction Gallery LLC for $900 in November 2014.





Skinner lot 146 151026These two silhouettes came up for auction at Skinner Inc. in their October 25, 2015 auction.  Luckily they did not sell at auction, although they may well have sold after auction.  I hope not.  They are very nice silhouettes but they are not by Edouart.  Can you tell me what the clues are?


Not fake missed Skinner 1511Finally….this last silhouette is a real Edouart and she is lovely.  I’m showing her to you because she was such a good deal and I forgot to bid!!!  I was so sad to have missed her.  She was also at Skinner Inc.



Please let me hear from you so we can share the clues of what to look for in these silhouettes with the rest of the readers……this is another one of those tests where we see whether I’m a good teacher or not!

The images, with the information attached, is from

bh writes: Ok, I am new at this but will take a wild stab at it and risk showing how uneducated/ignorant I am. 🙂 First, the empty background sticks out being so blank but I am unsure if he always had them watercolored/litho’d or whatever. Next, the feet seem weird because they all look like they’re on tippy toes. I thought one could be pointed downward but the other is usually straight ahead. Now what seems the strangest to me is the way the 6 year old boy is dressed….as an adult. Didn’t young boys dress like girls at that age? This one looks like a shrunken adult.

Peggy responds, bh, thanks for your comment.  Your comments are anything but ignorant! We all start somewhere and you have been working really hard to learn about antique silhouettes.  I appreciate you enthusiasm and interest!  Edouart did sometimes do commissioned silhouettes with white backgrounds.  The price to the sitter would have been partially determined by whether a white, litho or watercolor background was chosen.  You are correct about the feet–they are nothing like Edouart’s feet.  Of the 3 figures, the boy’s feet are closest to Edouart.  The feet of the woman and girl are not even close.  The boy is wearing an Eton suit which was fashionable for young boys in the 1840s.

Look deeper…..things like placement of body parts, awkwardness of positions, the care he took cutting hair and hands, signature characteristics of Edouart’s figures of men and boys (a clue is look at the apparel).  The photos given by the auction houses are too small to see the faces clearly, but there are no cut eyelashes that I can see.  Keep studying and sending comments!

What’s wrong with the signature?

fullOkay, here’s another “Edouart” on ebay. Ends today, It looks pretty good until you look at the signature…actually signatures as the piece is signed twice.  So, students, what’s wrong with the signature(s)?

First, why would he sign it twice?  It appears that the man $_57was placed over the first signature so the artist felt the need to sign again.  Edouart was too much of a perfectionist to have done something so unprofessional.

signSecond, it’s not Edouart’s signature.  He signed his name with a superscript “n” at the end of his first name (as in Augn.–sorry but I can’t do superscript in this blog).  He never used a superscript “t”.  His first name was Augustin, not August as the early reference books call him.

I can’t see the color of the ink although it looks pretty dark.  But look at the ink splotch in the word “Fecit”.  Again, very unprofessional supposedly from a man who was the consummate professional.  He also did not use a capital “F” in “fecit” preferring to use a non-capital.

Look again at the partially hidden signature.  It appears to use both a superscript “t” and then a superscript “n” and has partially rubbed out the “t”.  Again, this is not something Edouart would do.

The overall piece looks fairly much like Edouart’s work.  But you have to be an investigator to avoid buying the wrong thing.  You can see the ebay listing at  It’s titled “August Edouart 1841 Silhouette of Man and Woman Signed Great Collectible”, it ends in 10 hours and it currently is at $450 with 12 bids.

Edouart children Phili 4695 05 signature 300pxHere is an example of Edouart’s real signature.


Final note: The “Edouart” with the totally fake signature sold on ebay for $876 with 15 bids by 6 bidders. I can almost assure you that it will end up back on the market to sell again at an even higher price. Please look at things closely before you buy them and learn what to look for in high priced items.
bh writes: Peggy, what about the A? I thought his A’s were always rounded. Also, what about this one? It seems too slanted to the right.
BH, Thanks for your note.  Edouart’s “A” was usually rounded, but it seems that sometimes he did use the capital A.  As for the link you sent, this silhouette is fake and has been offered and passed before.  The first time the auction house offered it, they also had a fake one that was supposedly from Natches, Mississippi and dated the same date as this one, purportedly from New Orleans, Louisiana.  Now, Natches and New Orleans are 170 miles apart.  Making it from one point to the other in 1844 and taking silhouettes in both places on the same day would have been quite a feat–even for someone with Edouart’s skills!

“the original black silhouette” — Really?



fake Brown ebay 150504 01Okay, a silhouette reproduction of a work by William Henry Brown has shown up on email and I’m really not sure whether to give the seller the benefit of the doubt that he/she doesn’t know, or just think “What a scam!”.

The title of the ebay listing is “Antique 1844 Silhouette Of Samuel Lewis Southard, By W. H. Brown, Framed

The description says:

Antique 1844 Silhouette Of Samuel Lewis Southard, By W. H. Brown, Framed / Window measures approximately 10-1/2″H x 6-1/2″W. / Frame measures approximately 15-1/2″H x 11-1/2″W. / Marked on the bottom: /”From Life By W. H. Brown, 1844 / Samuel Lewis Southard”. / This is the original black silhouette with added white details. / The pencil guidelines for the text are still visible. / Piece is framed, matted and protected behind glass. / General wear from use and age. / Paper has some yellowing. / Exact age of print is unknown. / No known provenance.

What does the description mean?  Is it an “Antique 1844 Silhouette … by W.H. Brown” and “the original black silhouette” or is it a print of unknown age because it does say “Exact age of print is unknown”?  For real?  How many of you think this is an original 1844 silhouette by Brown?  Is it an antique from 1844 or does the seller not know the date?  Is it an original or is a print?   Is it a seller who has no business selling things like this because he/she doesn’t know enough or care enough to learn, or is it just a scam?

fake Brown ebay 150504 02Look at the quality and how dark black the black ink is.  It’s definitely not from 1844 and it is definitely not an original done by Brown.