Addison County in Profile: Silhouettes from the Sheldon Archives

April 1, 2016 – January 14, 2017

This exhibit presents a selection of exceptional, rarely displayed silhouettes of early residents of Addison County spanning over a century from 1800s to 1900s.  Many portraits are of prominent and accomplished personalities (mostly men), while others are of lesser known or unidentified individuals.

There are silhouettes of politicians, local doctors, academics, and artisans who had considerable impact on local history and whose lives are well documented in news accounts and local histories. For example on view is an exceptional portrait of William Slade (1786 – 1859) , who represented Vermont in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1831-1843, and Governor of Vermont 1844-1846. Less is known about the women represented by the silhouettes, except for the stunning double silhouette of now celebrated same-sex couple Sylvia Drake (1784-1868)  & Charity Bryant (1777-1851).

1979.312.001 -enhancedThe identities of silhouette artists are rarely known, most were self-taught.  But the exhibit does include several silhouettes by Middlebury artist Susan D. Parker (1854-1933), who studied art at the Cooper Institute and Art Students League in New York City .

This exhibit is part of Vermont Arts 2016, a project of the Vermont Arts Council.