Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Cutting Styles of American Silhouette Artist Baron Scotford

Baron Scotford was a prolific American Silhouette Artist who freehand cut silhouette profiles for over 30 years, from about 1910-1940.

Scotford went to England around 1912 after touring several countries in Europe. Scotford settled in London for many years, working first from a studio in Regents St, and later from the Crystal Palace. He returned to America before WWII, where he set up the Snip Sketch Studio in Atlantic City, NJ. 

Scotford's earlier works started off as very smooth, clean looking Silhouettes, then developed over time to include interior highlighted details called "slash work." The samples shown below demonstrate both styles, as well as a mixture of the two. Rarely seen busts in both cutting styles are also featured in this article. 

Scotford cut mostly full length Silhouettes, but a few rare busts can be found every now and then! Overall, since this particular Silhouette Artist cut so many profiles (including layered duplicates), his works are relatively easy to find to add to your collection. Since there are an abundant amount of signed Scotford's, the prices should be in a reasonable range for any collector, and it's normal for many to be sold unframed. 

Prime examples of the two styles of Baron "Le Baron" Scotford's work.
(Please click on any photo to enlarge detail)  

This is a common yet excellent example of a Baron Scotford Silhouette, cut early on in his smoother style. The mat measures  13 1/2" tall x 5 1/4" wide. The Silhouette itself measures about 9 1/2."

This is an outstanding example of one of Baron Scotford's later works done in his slash work style. Cut in 1936, signed simply "By Le Baron," this pretty girl features inked details around her ringlets, and she seems to be holding a school book. She's mounted on 14"x 5" paper, but the Silhouette itself measures a whopping 12 1/4" tall!!!! 

With the slash work style, the Silhouette Artist first cuts the outline of the body (or bust), then cuts inward to make each detail, cutting out little slivers of paper so as to leave the white interior details. 

YES!!! These slash work pieces remain amazingly all in ONE PIECE!!! Before mounting, they are as fine as lace, most delicate, yet entirely connected feats of engineering that need to be managed with great care to get all pasted down properly. 

Typical Scotford signatures. 

Yet another example of Scotford's slash work, however, this time the body from this gentleman's Silhouette seems to have been pre-cut, then his head cut in the smoother style, and simply mounted directly on top! Perhaps his studio was so busy, this was the most efficient method to fit in all of his sitters for the day. 

This post card says:
"Cut by 
'the Man with the Scissors' 
609 Boardwalk Near Rudolph 
Atlantic City, N.J. 

Although this postcard piece has not been signed directly by Baron Scotford, it has been attributed to him as his work by comparison to the full length figure to the right owned by another collector. It was discerned that the collar and hat styles were a solid match, so that is how the attribution was made. 
The bust is guesstimated to have been cut in approximately 1905. 
These postcard busts measure 5 1/2" tall x 3 1/2" wide. 

This unique Baron Scotford slash work bust Silhouette was cut at the Snip Sketch Studio, 515 1/2 Boardwalk, in Atlantic City, NJ. 

A close-up view of Baron Scotford slash work. 

The watermark on the back of the card says, "Use Baron Scotford's Little Cut-Out Silhouettes for Decorations and Lamps. Sold in Art Materials and Stationary Stores Everywhere."

Watch this superb YouTube video of Baron Scotford at work.
Le Baron cut rhythmically, with great speed, and it looks like he very much enjoyed what he did for a living!

These Silhouettes are from the private collection of Kathryn Flocken except for the full length man on the red backing, which is in the collection of Mr. S. Klinger. Please visit and send an email to Kathryn if you would like to borrow any of these photos or information for educational purposes. 

A few outstanding examples found on line, posted for educational purposes only:

These two Silhouettes by Scotford are from the Charles Burns collection. 
As you can see he used various styles of mats over his career. 

This very fine Silhouette below was cut by Baron Scotford's wife, Peggy Newall. 
Slash style, with inked on embellishments. 
Note the male "ghost Silhouette" on the reverse! 

Silhouette by Peggy Newall, wife of Baron Scotford. 

From the collection of Heather Johnson-Johnson, she is the owner of the cutting of the ghost figure on the reverse of the Peggy Newall. See below:

Silhouette from the Charles Burns collection.
It's all in the family, apparently! 
This portrait was done by Baron Scotford Jr.! 

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