Before the advent of photography, there were limited ways to produce accurate likenesses of people. As an alternative to paintings, drawings and sculptures, silhouettes — hand-cut from paper — were an affordable way to remember the faces of loved ones.

The bust silhouettes below, created by artist Charles Willson Peale, were cut from the middle of white paper, and mounted on black. None of the subjects of these portraits are identified.

antique silhouette woman 1760-1830 (3)

antique silhouette woman 1760-1830 (2)

antique silhouette woman 1760-1830 (5)

antique silhouette woman 1760-1830 (6)

antique silhouette woman 1760-1830 (1)

antique silhouette woman 1760-1830 (7)

antique silhouette woman 1760-1830 (8)

antique silhouette woman 1760-1830 (4)

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Filed under: 1700s, 1800s, 1820s, Ephemera, Home & garden

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