Item #80347 [Revolutionary War-era hand-cut silhouette

[Revolutionary War-era hand-cut silhouette

Item #80347

(AMERICAN REVOLUTION). [Revolutionary War-era hand-cut silhouette portraits of Peggy Shippen, Becky Redman and Peggy Chew, likely cut by a British officer in Philadelphia during the occupation]. Each on laid paper, each unmounted. Comprises 2 cut-out [i.e. the removed portion of a hollow-cut silhouette] portraits of Redman (either both traced from the same sitting or one a contemporary copy of the other), 1 cut-out portrait of Peggy Chew and one hollow-cut portrait of Peggy Shippen. [With:] Three other hand-cut silhouette portraits of members of the Carey or Cary family. All annotated in pencil in the same early hand. [Philadelphia]: [circa 1778]. Some soiling and foxing, old folds. Provenance: James Stevens Cox, F.S.A. (1910-1997). An extraordinary group of 18th century silhouette portraits of notable Philadelphia women: Margaret "Peggy" Shippen (who would later become Mrs. Benedict Arnold), Margaret "Peggy" Chew and Rebecca "Beckey" Redman. The dating of the silhouettes is ascribed based on the J. Whatman watermarks (Heawood 1846a, dating 1778-1781), as well as the subjects. During the Revolutionary War, British-occupation of Philadelphia between 1777-1778, these three women caught the attentions of Major John Andre and his officers. Indeed, they were central to Andre's infamous May 18, 1778 Meschianza, the lavish farewell party to honor General Howe, which featured a ritualistic jousting tournament in which knights contested for the honor of fabulously-costumed women, including Chew and Redman. The most descriptive contemporary account of the Meschianza was penned by Andre himself and given to Chew, whom he had championed in the Meschianza joust. More than a soldier and spymaster, best known for being the British agent to recruit and run Benedict Arnold, during the occupation of Philadelphia Andre wrote poems and plays, drew sketches, and designed costumes and scenery for theater. Intriguingly, Andre was a well-known amateur silhouette artist, presenting several much acclaimed hollow-cut silhouettes accomplished by his own hand to Redman. His account of the Meschianza and his silhouettes survive in the Chew Family Papers at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and in the Library Company of Philadelphia. Of the various types of hand-cut silhouettes practiced in America in this early.

Price: $22,500.00