Portrait of a Woman
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Camille Silvy
French, London, about 1860
Albumen print mounted on card stock
10 1/16 x 7 5/16 in.

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The elegantly attired woman in this portrait was one of many aristocratic patrons to visit the London studio of Camille Silvy. The sitter is gracefully posed with her head turned in profile and her hands delicately displaying her bejeweled fingers. She is wrapped in a beaded velvet shawl with a large cameo at her throat and a beaded hair ornament--finery that reflects her aristocratic status.

Silvy was well known among the fashionable English aristocracy and accordingly stocked his studio with stylish accessories and props that created a suitable image of wealth and social standing. He was thought to possess superior artistic taste, which directed his skillful handling of models and settings.