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.

Great American Folk Silhouettes Auctioned

Wow, what a great auction Skinner Inc. held May 21, 2016 for the Personal Collection of Lewis Scranton! Longtime dealer/collector Lewis Scranton hosted the auction at his home in Connecticut (preview in-home as displayed by the collector, auction under a tent outside).  Mr. Scranton insisted on the auction having no buyers’ premium!  It made for a very exciting auction.  I watched and bid online but couldn’t get a thing although I was underbidder on a number of truly extraordinary and rare American folk silhouettes. Here is a run-down of the fantastic silhouettes at this auction. The silhouettes are not in any particular order.  Congratulations to the high bidders on these profiles.

Bache hollowcut 1700

By William Bache, listed in catalog as a hollow cut. I sent an inquiry asking whether it was a hollow cut with shaded black paper behind (Bache did these but they are rare because the backing papers got separated from cutting) or fully painted. Answer came back that it appeared to be cut & paste–not words used but basically the answer. I knew that wasn’t the correct answer but didn’t bid. By price I would say it was hollow cut with shaded background.–$1700

not Whitcomb 7500

(In my opinion misattributed) to James Holsey Whitcomb in paint decorated frame–$7500. My attribution is to Justin Salisbury.


Wish I had not been saving up for the later silhouettes and had gone higher on this one. Unattributed at auction, but I attribute to Everet Howard because of the bustline termination and the painted dots around the boy’s clothing. $900.

Williams 1200

Charlotte Cummings by S. Williams–$1200. Interestingly, it appears that the silhouette is sewn onto the black backing (which is probably fabric).


Anonymous Artist, hollow-cut head with wood block stamped body. $900

Whitcomb 5500

Attr. James Holsey Whitcomb, in paint decorated frames–$5500

Tin frames 3000

Unsigned hollowcut in fabulous paint decorated frames–$3000

Newell 3000

Attributed to Anson Newell–$3000


Anonymous Artist, paint decorated paper mat. I’ve only seen two by this artist with the original painted mats. This is the 2nd time I’ve chased this silhouette but I didn’t get it this time either! $7500

Fraktur ringlets 4750

Anonymous Artist–A true American folk treasure–Published in A Loving Likeness American Folk Portraits of the Nineteenth Century–$4750

Fraktur 4750 under

Anonymous Artist–Another American folk treasure–1st child I’ve seen by this artist–$4750

Fraktur 4500

Anonymouse Artist–Another great one!–$4500

Fraktur 2000 question

Anonymous Artist–this one is different than any I’ve seen by this artist because of the very thin neck–$2000

Fraktur 1700

Anonymous Artist–1 of the few I didn’t bid on because I have several women by this artist–$1700

Davis 8000

Signed J.A. Davis, published in Silhouettes in America, 1790-1840, listed by Skinner as James A. Davis but I believe they meant Jane A. Davis–I really wanted this one!–$8000


Anonymous Artist–$5500.  I was a bit surprised by the price of this one because I have one by this artist and didn’t pay nearly this much.



Ebay seller stole my copyrighted photograph

This morning I find that ebay seller “theprimitiveman” stole one of my copyrighted photographs to produce a print of the silhouette for monetary gain. I am, of course, livid. One may reproduce an old piece of artwork only if one uses the actual artwork or the reproducer’s own photograph of the piece. However, when someone steals a photograph that is copyrighted to use for monetary gain, one has infringed on the copyright. I haven’t found this in a while….since I started putting a watermark on my photos. But, I am always hesitant to smack the watermark right across the body of the piece and so have tried to hide the watermarks out of the way. Today, this selfish individual has assured that I will change my method and smack the watermark right across the body of the artwork. What a shame that someone can be so callous and selfish as to steal someone else’s material for individual gain.

$_57Here is the ebay listing (#131609039715)

Woman blue dress 5225 02c 144 px

Compare it to the photos of my silhouette at

He has even reproduced the horizontal crease in the original.  The only difference is that he extended her dress beyond the églomisé glass mat so that he could put it in a rectangular frame.

I would appreciate if some of you would send him a message through ebay telling him that his blatant use of copyrighted material is disgraceful and he should stop doing it immediately!

Answer to a question I received

il_570xN_740781700_qx11I received this query through the blog.  Since it doesn’t really apply to any of my previous postings, I am running it as a separate post:

Julie says:  Your website is a fantastic treasure trove of information. I know you charge for appraisals, but this is not a query about that. It is about the typed silhouettes these could be…are these modern in old frames…Ive never seen the like. I’d like to know if you had. Again, more for information/history….I do not care about the value. Here is the etsy link:

Peggy’s response:  The silhouettes you asked about are reproductions of 18th century silhouettes by Charles Buncombe.  They were likely done in the early 20th century by one of the big houses like Borghese.  The labels on the backs were either pulled off sometime in their history or the seller chose not to photograph the labels.  Unfortunately, the early 20th century repros are usually sold as the original thing and since paper has aged, people who cannot tell the difference between 18th, 19th, and 20th century paper thing they have something really early.  That goes for sellers also since most antique dealers are generalists and don’t know the earmarks of such a narrow field of focus.

Note:  I had not read the title of the etsy listing before responding to Julie, but I would like to note that, in the title of the listing, the seller did note that the silhouettes were of late 19th to early 20th century work.  In my book, that puts the seller heads and shoulders above many, many other sellers of these repros.

Second note:  I don’t charge for appraisals, I just don’t do monetary appraisals.  There is a conflict of interest for any antique dealer who looks at something she/he might be interested in buying and tells the owner what the piece is “worth”.

Real or fake?

301365215415 ebay 01        301365215415 ebay 09






Okay readers. Let’s see if I’ve been successful in teaching you about spotting fake Edouarts.  Current ebay listing # 301365215415 is fake.  You can see the listing at

The seller says “Auguste Edouart silhouette of Reverend Henry Anton ,  29 Oct, 1932. His wife Mrs. Agnes Anton, and Master H. Anton,  7 years  Oct 1832.   Frame is not in great condition, but appears to be original to the silhouette.   Back of frame reads folio(?) from Edouarts book of silhouettes. Reverend Anton and Family. Has some discoloration and wear . ”

I’m giving the seller the benefit of the doubt that he/she does not recognize that it is fake.  This seller does not appear to sell many silhouettes….or many antiques.

Question for you–can you tell me the signs that it is fake?  If you click on the photos they will enlarge so you can see them better.301365215415 ebay 05


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301365215415 ebay 04

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Liz says: Hi Peggy, Well, let’s see. That scrabble is certainly not Edouart’s handwriting, and the ink appears to be in two different colors. The awkwardly cut figures look like cartoon characters! The feet are particularly bad.

Peggy replies:  Liz is correct on all counts.  Very good observation!  Can anyone else point out any other clues?

Barrett says: “I do not like the frame…”

Peggy replies: The frame is pretty horrible.  If the silhouette was supposed to be a commissioned piece by Edouart, we’d know that the frame was not original because Edouart only framed his pieces in maple frames.  However, this silhouette purports to be from the duplicate folios which were never framed until the 20th century.  Mrs. Jackson and Mr. Vernay only framed duplicates in simple ebonized frames that were made in the early 20th century.  If the silhouette were real, the frame would not be “original”.  Incidentally, the sitter names are not in Mrs. Jackson’s list so they could not have come from any of the folios that she got from the Lukis family.  There have been several folios turn up since that time so not all are in the list.  But, checking the list is always a good place to start when considering purchasing an Edouart duplicate.

More thoughts?

From my Facebook page, Bradley says:  “Everything is wrong. Thanks for the chuckle Peggy! Is that dog wearing a graduation cap?”  and: “She looks to have a baby rabbit on her sleeve and crepe paper flowers on her skirt. And those feet….. I can hear Edouart rolling over.

All very astute observations and comments.  To reader comments, I would add, the man’s collar is not cut far enough back about the jacket and the tails on his coat seem a bit too short for the period (that’s a nit-picky one).  There are no button holes cut in the man’s jacket.  Everyone’s hair is ill-defined (Edouart liked to cut wisps of hair for great definition).  There are no cut eyelashes. The bottom of the hat rim is oddly wavy.  The woman’s hair looks like a blob where Edouart would cut it so that you could see where it was braided and all of the details of the hairstyle and hair comb.  The dog is atrociously cut in pretty much all respects where Edouart cut the most amazing dogs and horses.  The feet are the first dead giveaway that you should learn to spot at a distance.  And, as Bradley commented, they all look like cartoon-characters.

As of today, the ebay listing has two bids for a price of $11.50.  Let’s hope it doesn’t go any further!

Note: The ebay listing ended last night with 3 bidders placing 5 bids.  The “lucky” high bidder got a simply horrific fake silhouette in a pretty awful frame for $33,99 plus shipping.