My Collection of Duplicate Silhouettes

My duplicate books (48k Jpeg)

I line with the tradition set by August Edouart, Hubert Leslie and others, I have always liked to keep copies of my own silhouettes. I started this collection in 1995, the year I "went full time" as a silhouettist, and today it numbers around 100,000 silhouettes, in over 30 volumes. I kind of regret not keeping copies of my first six years, the part-time years. Probably the silhouettes would only have filled one more volume, but for me it would have been an interesting one.

Duplicate book (26k Jpeg) Duplicate book (32k Jpeg)

Duplicate silhouettes displayed in their albums.
Each album is a little over A3 size

Unlike Edouart and Leslie, I have no time to find out who people are. The way I work at events is fast and furious, and the collecting of duplicates has to fit in with that. They get shoved in my pocket and sorted out later. Instead I group my silhouettes by event, so for each profile I can tell you where and when it was cut, and what the occassion was, but not of whom.

Negative page (48k Jpeg)

Negative profiles

I keep the duplicates in white, so I call them the "artist's negative" when people ask about them. The reasons are purely practical, and mounted on blue paper the silhouettes look surpringly good. However, to bring them "back to life" I need the services of a modern digital camera. By taking a photo in negative the white turns black and the blue turns the traditional cream. Suddenly the silhouettes seem to be there again, just as real as the day I cut them!

A negative detail from the open book shown on the left above. These were cut at Savill Court near Windsor, in the summer of 2000

Famous faces

Every so often I am fortunate so bump into some well known faces at some of the events I work at. These, at least, I can usually identify! The detail below shows some silhouettes I cut at the "Art in Autism" Private View, an exhibition of autistic and asperger artists held at The Pump House Gallery, Battersea, in May 2000. There are three you might recognize, can you pick them out? (Answers under the photo!)

Negative page (48k Jpeg)

Silhouettes cut at the Art in Autism event, May 2000,
Top three profiles (L - R) are Peter Blake, Gerald Scarfe and Jane Asher

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©Charles Burns/ Edo Barn Site/ page was first created in September 1997 and last updated August 2012