Beetham, Isabella


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(b 1744, Sedgefield, Lancs; d after 1809). English silhouettist. In 1764 she eloped with her lover, the actor and inventor Edward Beetham. They worked as actors in London, and Isabella began to cut profiles at Clerkenwell. She initially painted on card, and then on glass. Her portraits were backed with plaster or, when painted on the back of convex glass, with wax. Edward Beetham, by now her husband, had invented the Beetham's Patent Washing Mill, an early form of washing machine. They bought a building at 27 The Strand where Edward ran a shop and warehouse and Isabella a silhouette studio.

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Decorative Arts, Furniture, and Industrial Design.

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