Long before any camera captured the
human form, itinerant silhouette artists recreated mortal likenesses in
profile, providing a quick, inexpensive alternative to the painted portrait. Manchester
resident Elizabeth O’Brien will bring the rare and centuries-old art form to
the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum Tags & Treasures Sale, with seatings on a
space-available basis for $25, on Saturday, March 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and
Sunday, March 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Webb Barn at 211 Main St.,
After a few moments spent studying
her subject’s profile—hair, eyelashes, nose, etc.—O’Brien quickly but carefully
sketches, and then cuts and pastes the delicate paper profiles using 18th-and 19th-century
techniques, with the entire process taking about 20-25 minutes. She takes pride in
creating a true likeness of her subject.
An established artist for years, O’Brien was always fond of silhouette
portraiture and paper cutting, and collected and produced many different
examples over the years. Her interest in the folk art gained momentum when she
and her family lived in England for several years, where she came across many
18th- and 19th-century silhouettes and examined old books on the subject. In
addition to periodically demonstrating her craft at museum and historical society
events throughout Connecticut, O’Brien is a historic interpreter at the
Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum and Nathan Hale Homestead.
Tags & Treasures
For more than 40 years,
the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum Tags & Treasures Sale has been organized by
the Connecticut Chapter of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of
America. The bi-annual event features hundreds of household items, including
small furniture, basement bargains, vintage pieces, and historic estate items
from some of Connecticut’s oldest families. Other treasures at this year’s
sale: glass, sterling silver, china, linens, fine jewelry and books – all
donated by the Colonial Dames, who maintain the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum. $5 admission.
For more information, visit www.webb-deane-stevens.org
or call (860) 529-0612.
Located in the heart of
Connecticut’s largest historic district, the Museum consists of three
authentically restored 18th-century homes, and provides the quintessential New
England experience, from the American Revolution to the early 20th century.
Tours include the 1752 Joseph Webb House, where General George Washington met
with French General Rochambeau, and planned the military campaign leading to the end of the Revolutionary War;
1770 Silas Deane House, built for America’s first diplomat to France; and the
1788 Isaac Stevens House - depicting life in the 18th and 19th centuries
through original family objects and a fascinating children’s exhibit. For rates
and hours visit www.webb-deane-stevens.org, or call
(860) 529-0612, ext. 12.