This is not by Edouart

Laughon sisters reproJust in case some of my readers are thinking that they might sneak in a bid for an Edouart that isn’t labeled Edouart, this silhouette is NOT by Edouart.  To be fair, the seller does not represent the silhouette to be by Edouart, but there is a genuine Edouart label pasted to the brown paper covering the back of the frame.  My best guess is that the three silhouette figures in the frame are faithful reproductions, possibly by the Laughons.  The names of the women supposedly depicted are not in Mrs. Jackson’s list nor are they in the Laughons’ book on the Quaker album.  Nevertheless, they are fairly well-executed except for the awkwardly long arms of the two standing women and the lack of good detail in the faces and hair.  The trade label on the back of the frame is definitely real but the rest is 20th century.  Here is the link to the ebay listing:

Laughon sisters repro 02Laughon sisters repro 04








David says, “Always enjoy your blogs!!! Once years ago for the sheer fun of it I even purchased for pennies literally pennies a photocopy of a period Edouart of 3 sitters from New Orleans, documented in Mrs. Jackson’s book. Later found the original silhouette was even larger — a conversation silhouette recorded on a glass negative at the Library of Congress.”

Thanks for participating David!


Someone bought this fake Edouart

15-03 fake girl 02Such a shame that someone just bought this fake Edouart from ebay.  These 20th century fakes that are all supposedly American-cut come up all of the time.  As you can see, the ink is black.  This group of fakes all have the names of the sitter inscribed either above, below or on the opposite lower corner from Edouart’s specious signature.  Look at the girl–she doesn’t look like Edouart’s work.  Reader’s please send comments on what characteristics are missing for Edouart’s work, or show that this is definitely not Edouart’s work.  The girl was sold with the pair in one frame, which I give no opinion about.  The seller did not represent the pair as by Edouart.  You can see the listing for about a month at   The buyer paid $565 for these two silhouettes.15-03 fake girl 03 15-03 fake girl

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.

More Non-Edouarts on ebay

ebay fake Edouart hc 01 I don’t know what these are, but they certainly are not silhouettes by Edouart.  Listed on ebay as “Antique Pair Auguste Edouart Silhouette Rare “Negative” Cut Out Portrait Signed”, these hollow cut silhouettes have an impressed stamp on them which I cannot read.  If it says “Edouart” then the stamp is fake.  It may, however, be someone else’s trade stamp.  Although Edouart did some bust-length silhouettes, he never, never, never did hollow cut silhouettes.  These silhouettes look nothing like Edouart’s silhouettes.  Here is what the listing says: ebay fake Edouart hc 02

This is a Rare Pair of “Negative” Cut Out Silhouette Portraits

by Auguste Edouart

Negative cut out meaning the white paper is what has been cut.

Usually Silhouette Portraits are cut out black paper mounted over white.

This pair is white cut out mounted over black.


Both are signed with a stamp.

Portraits are absolutely authentic, you will not be disappointed.

The woman has some staining, shown below and

definitely not a deal breaker.

This frame may or may not be original.

The portraits have been re-matted and the frame has

had new paper backing put on with a new wire,

the frame itself is constructed with pegs which is

correct for the period.

To me this appears to be a partial frame restoration.

The back portion of the frame that is showing has good oxidation,

therefore I believe the frame is original.

ebay fake Edouart hc 04 ebay fake Edouart hc 03

The pair is ebay # 251726087280 and you can see it at

Here are photos of a couple of Edouart busts (cut & paste like all of his silhouettes) so you can see what they look like.  I’ve had some busts that were hand-signed and some that had trade labels, but I’ve never see an impressed stamp by him.

Edouart Fanny 02c 96 pxEdouart bust man 4182 03c close 96 pxEdouart preacher Boston 02c 96 px

Patricia writes, “Thank you for doing this!!”.

Peggy replies, Thank you for reading!

Another Edouart–You tell me

Cresent City Auctions NO 01 141115

Okay Edouart students!  You tell me what is wrong with this “Edouart” coming up for auction.  I’m anxious to read your thoughts.

Cresent City Auctions NO 02 141115



Liz says: “The clothing and hairstyles don’t look quite right to me for the time period, especially the woman’s figure. The hands are poorly cut. And, the “original gold leaf and gesso frame” would not have been original to a genuine Edouart. I’m sure I’ve missed other red flags, I’m anxious to hear what your observations are!”

From my Facebook page come the following comments:

Sherry says: “crude

Bradley says: “The handwriting is crude, and the figures lack detail.

Kathryn says: “Feet are wrong, shading on the ground is strange and cross hatchy, the manner in which the piece is documented is off (signatures and sitter information in the wrong places and pertinent information left out).
This part is just my opinion:
The piece seems too tight to me, and the most bothersome thing aesthetically to me is the composition itself. The Mother is engaging the children and reading to them…wouldn’t he have made the children facing her and listening to her, instead of facing away, posing strangely, and walking away from their Mother?

These are all very good observations.  You are correct on all counts. The crudeness of the figures is the first thing I noted.  The feet are something that a potential buyer should look at first–for some reason, fakers seem to have a hard time replicating Edouart’s feet or they just aren’t trying that hard.  This silhouette purports to be a commissioned silhouette–that is, one that was paid for and given to the customer as opposed to a duplicate out of his folios. I don’t remember seeing a commissioned piece where Edouart wrote sitter info on the back of the silhouette. And, as a conversation piece, the sitters should be engaged, not all looking in the same direction. Buyers beware of “American-cut Edouarts”.  They command a higher price in America, therefore, we see more fakes.  You should know what you are looking for and at before buying.  Edouart spent little time in the Southern states and a large portion of the “Southern Edouarts” that come on the market are fake. Some of the fakes are quite good and harder to spot–this piece is not so good.  Always study a piece before buying it!


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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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.


Another bad Edouart on ebay

Fake Mary Travers 01Another fake Edouart was brought to my attention last night, only 15 hours before the listing was set to close. It’s a sweet silhouette, nicely done, but it is definitely not what it purports to be, and here is why. This silhouette purports to be from Edouart’s rescued folios, dated 1843, American cut, with his grease pencil light embellishment. Fake Mary Travers 05







The Fake Mary Travers 04inscription pasted to the bottom of the background paper shows no salt water damage and has very black ink. Edouart used iron gall ink and it has all gone brown by now–and any paper that was on the bottom of the Bay of Guernsey has faded even more.


Fake Mary Travers 03


The seller shows us very little of the inscription on the back of the figure which can be seen through the keyhole on the background paper. Obviously, this keeps us from evaluating the writing, ink, paper, saltwater damage, etc.  The response from the seller about this point is that she/he did not want to damage the silhouette by showing more.  I’m not sure what this means since the silhouette appears to have glass on the back which would allow the keyhole to be seen without having to remove any backing.

The silhouette does come with an authentic Arthur Vernay label which appears to be wrapped Fake Mary Travers 02around the edge of the narrow black frame (the frame is the type that Vernay used).  I’ve never seen one of Vernay’s collection labels wrapped around the edge of the frame and doubt that he would have done so.  The labels were glued to the back glass in a lower corner.  The glass may well have come from a real duplicate silhouette and have been put onto the back of this one.  It does appear to be glued to glass although the seller never shows us a photo of the entire back, making it impossible to evaluate further.

I missed this silhouette until it was brought to my attention because the title misspells Edouart’s name.  The title is “Antique 1843 Original Auguste Edouarte Cut Paper Silhouette Mary Taylor Travers”.  So, even though I search every day for “Edouart”, this silhouette never came up.  What really irked me is that the seller used my name for more information about “Edouarte”.  This unauthorized use of my name lends credibility to a silhouette which deserved none.  While I appreciate sellers of all kinds citing to me, if someone wants to use my name in a listing for sale, that person need to check with me first.  If this seller had done so, I could have told her the issues with the silhouette before it was listed.  To the seller’s credit, after my message, she did remove my name and gave a not very plausible excuse for the poor picture of the back keyhole.  Also, giving him/her a bit of leeway, the seller may not have realized that the piece is not write.  But, then, why not show the entire back?  As of this writing, the listing has less than one hour to go and, so far, no bids.  However, since two fake Edouarts have sold on ebay within the last 2 weeks (different seller), there is still a very good chance that someone will buy it.  Then, we’ll have yet another fake Edouart on the market.

The listing can be seen on ebay for 30 days after it closes at  You can also search ebay closed listings for # 121441916719.  Watch to see if this seller relists the silhouette (assuming it does not sell) and, if he does, message him to say that the silhouette is not right.  We’ve worked together to have a fake Edouart removed from ebay before.  We can do it again!

Also note that these photos were copied from the ebay listing.  While the photos are the property of the seller, their use here for educational purposes is not a copyright violation.

Update:  The silhouette was immediately relisted and can be seen at or by searching ebay for item # 111471920682.