2019 Exhibition: A Perfect Profile: Miniature Portraits, Silhouettes, and Landscapes of Early Annapolis

April 1st 2019 to December 31st, 2019


Richard Loockerman

Richard Loockerman

Today the word profile has become synonymous with social media, yet the concept developed in America much earlier. The artist Charles Willson Peale wrote in 1803 that “profiles are seen in nearly every house in the United States of America.” Profiles, another name for silhouettes, were incredibly inexpensive and popular. In the years leading up to and after the American Revolution, citizens of this new nation redefined their culture, fashion, and character. People wanted to identify themselves through portraiture but expensive oil paintings were out of reach for most families. Instead people turned to miniature portraits and silhouettes. Easily transported and affordable, these pieces were shared with loved ones at special occasions. Landscapes gained popularity in the 19th century and adorned the homes of Americans, serving as conversation pieces, similar to the way photographs are used on social media sites like Facebook or Instagram today.

The exhibition highlights pieces with Annapolis provenance never before seen together. The collection of the Hammond-Harwood House Museum will be featured along with loans from the Maryland State Archives, Naval Academy Art Museum, and the Maryland Historical Society.

Press Release



Thursday, March 28 2019 from 6 pm to 8 pm. Opening remarks 6:30pm.

Exhibition opening for members. Wine and appetizers provided.

For reservations, please call 410-263-4683×10 or email info@hammondharwoodhouse.org

Exhibition runs April 1 to December 31 2019.

Free and open to the public during normal tour hours,

Monday through Sunday noon to 5 pm, Tuesday closed.



Saturday, July 13 at 10am

$30 per person/$25 Members

For reservations, please call 410-263-4683×10 or email info@hammondharwoodhouse.org

Learn the basic history of the silhouette from ancient times and cultures, to their prime at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, to their revival in the 1920’s, to their interpretation today. The numerous methods and materials used to create profile images will be explored. Discover how the camera obscura was used to create silhouettes by artists in America and how it influenced portraiture. Those attending the presentation will have the opportunity to have their profile likenesses preserved as a hollow-cut silhouettes using a replica camera obscura. This presentation will be led by Brian Miller, Historic Odessa Foundation Associate Curator.