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Edward Foster was born November 8, 1762, two years into the reign of the monarch who would become his most important patron, George III. Foster's father was a gentleman land-steward and mother was the child of nobility. He joined the Derbyshire militia at the age of 17 and remained in the military for 25 years. Once Foster retired from the military at age 42, he turned his attention to his artistic talents where he earned a fine reputation as a painter of miniatures and profiles. King George III appointed Foster the "Official Miniature Painter to the Royal Family" and moved him into lavish apartments in the Round Tower of Windsor Palace. Foster set up his business as a professional silhouettist in London around 1811 on The Strand. It was around the year 1811 that Foster began using papier mâché frames with a special brass hanger bearing his name above the Royal crown, meaning his appointment as Official Miniature Painter must have been made by at least this date. In addition to working from his studio, Foster travelled as an itinerant artist. It appears that Foster returned to Derby in about 1832, during which year he was seventy-two years old. Never one to rest on his laurels, Foster began drawing and printing educational maps and charts for school use. He was married five times and had at least 17 children, only one of whom survived his death at 102 years old in 1864.
Foster's silhouette profiles were fully painted (not cut). His work is generally categorised as two types: "black profiles" with which he appears to have launched his career and later "red profiles." For his black profiles, he used thin black paint with detail added with pigment added to gum arabic and, sometimes, Chinese white. His "red profiles" are created with Venetian red and reddish-brown to which he added touches of gold and Chinese white. He used a three-dot technique to depict the transparency of the fabrics of women's dresses. Neck and shirt frills were generally left without colour.
|Height||7.00 inch||(17.78 cm)|
|Width||6.50 inch||(16.51 cm)|