Friday

Hole in a Donut Silhouette Revisited

The orginal post appeared in April 2012. This is the link: http://silhouettesamericana.blogspot.com/2012/04/donut-hole-silhouettes-one-of-our.html

The author of the article on Jennys silhouettes, Michael R. Payne, writes us regarding our earlier post.
He writes:

Please re-read the article. It starts off stating that the silhouettes were found un-framed in a hand-made box. They were framed by our wonderful friend Paul Young, the decreased previous owner. If the customer was given the center as well as the hollow-cut when these were made has always been a question! The editor of our article decreased the word count by 1/3, including this section. It is obvious, when you think about it, that the fine detail of the doughnut pieces can only be made by going back over and over with multiple cuts to get the tiny left detail pieces which would have destroyed the hollow-cut and which the hollow cut shows no scissor/knife evidence of! All were examined under magnification.Regards- Michael R. Payne, author of the Jennys article and 9 others in this area.

B. M. Jones says:

I did re-read it. It starts off, "At a rural auction in Maine during the summer of 1979, a couple purchased an old handmade box containing a family group of eight silhouettes." The word "un-framed" does not exist there. I don't know what was cut-off from that original article, but I still disagree completely with Michael's view on those white inner silhouettes. Those silhouette makers were very good with what they did, cutting. Michael's only rationale of why he believes those white cuttings were NOT left-over parts of the hollow-cut is because of their "fine detail." That is a very weak analysis. If he could produce an ad by Jennys stating he also worked in such cut-and-paste type silhouette, I would be convinced.

In the original article Michael writes, "Rarely made during the earliest years of the 1800s were silhouettes in which the outside portion of the white paper was discarded, producing the profile from the inside white image. Sometimes called “hole in the doughnut” inside silhouettes, when mounted on a black background, this produced a distinctly different image of the sitter."

He cites Alice Carrick for the above. But Carrick writes, ""Sometimes you find the white heads that were left after the profile was hollow-cut; these I have dubbed 'a hole in the doughnut ' type, and, if they are good in themselves, they are always worth buying and mounting on paper." In other words what Michael writes is the exact opposite of what Carrick writes. Carrick clearly says those white cuttings are left-overs. Michael says they are the cream of the crop, made that way, and "white paper was disgarded." Why would anyone throw away the white paper in which the hollow-cut image was made? It makes no sense.

I am sure Michael is knowledgeable in his field of "certain" folk art. I take off my hat for that and wish him continued success on his research. However, in order to make a point in our house of silhouettes here, he must be able to support his findings. Primary and secondary sources are fine. If such sources are not presented, he must, then, make a persuadable argument for his case based on his own research. We hope Michael comes back with his investigation and theory on why he thinks what he writes is the truth. He has not pursuaded me at all so far.

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