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A Stag Hunt

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Perth and Kinross (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1820-1828 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Mackenzie, Laura Jemima Muir (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cut paper, blackened on one side with ink

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Hon. Frances M. Talbot

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 120, The Wolfson Galleries, case 15, shelf DR3

Object Type
This silhouette was originally mounted in an album of cut paper works by the amateur cutter Laura Muir Mackenzie. Four works were selected for the V&A. Many of the works in this album reflected a taste for the Classical cameo encouraged by archaeological discoveries in the 18th century at sites such as Pompeii. These discoveries inspired Josiah Wedgwood's white pottery cameos set against blue and green backgrounds. Mackenzie mimicked them by setting her white silhouettes against blue and green card. This silhouette is a more conventional black cut work.

Laura Muir Mackenzie was a cousin of the Hon. Frances Talbot, who gave this work to the V&A. Laura was the daughter of Sir Alexander Muir Mackenzie of Delvine, Perthshire. According to her cousin there was an inscription on a family vault stating that Laura was born in 1801. One silhouette by Laura was apparently dated as early as 1806, implying that she was cutting works at five years old.

The word 'silhouette', describing images in outline, came into use in English in the 19th century. Before this date such works, particularly portraits, were called 'profiles'. The word 'silhouette' came from Etienne de Silhouette (1709-1769), a keen amateur paper cutter and a French finance minister who introduced petty tax reforms. The popular mind apparently came to associate his meanness with the inexpensiveness of his hobby, and the word 'silhouette' caught on.

Physical description

Cut paper silhouette miniature of a stag hunt.

Place of Origin

Perth and Kinross (probably, made)


ca. 1820-1828 (made)


Mackenzie, Laura Jemima Muir (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Cut paper, blackened on one side with ink


Height: 10.95 cm, Width: 16.83 cm

Object history note

Made by Laura Jemima Muir Mackenzie (born about 1800, died in 1828) probably at Delvine, near Dunkeld, Perthshire, Scotland

Descriptive line

Cut paper silhouette miniature by Laura Mackenzie entitled 'A Stag Hunt'. Great Britain, ca. 1820-1828.

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Before the 1820s when black paper became widely available, cut-paper silhouettes were cut from white paper and blackened with ink or charcoal. This hunting scene, cut by Laura Muir Mackenzie at the age of about 15, is of the earlier type. [27/03/2003]





Subjects depicted

Stag; Silhouettes


Drawings; Animals and Wildlife; Hunting; Scotland


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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