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Image of Paper Cut

Copyright © Doreen Ridden


Paper Cut

Q The picture, measuring 11½ x 11¾ inches, has been handed down through the family and was produced by William Cox as he has signed it as well as cutting his name into it and has a date of 1755 also cut into it (see picture below). However, whether this was his birth date or when he cut the picture is one of the questions we would like answered. We assume that the initials in the centre relate to George ll.

Image detail from Paper Cut

Copyright © Doreen Ridden

We have recently had the picture restored and reframed and that identified that earlier work on it may have removed some additional wording from the bottom. However, it has also been suggested that the word Common to the right of the word Portsmouth is in a lower case to match with Willm Cox on its left in order to create balance rather than there being other wording which has been lost. If the latter is true then this would suggest that the picture relates to William Cox of Portsmouth Common (now Portsea).

Image detail from  Paper Cut Image detail from  Paper Cut

Copyright © Doreen Ridden

What is the meaning of the 12 beasts/characters around the centre?

Was this a pastime that was in vogue in this period or does this suggest something about William Cox himself? How was the picture actually created? When we had it restored it was suggested that the background was pitch allowing the paper to be secured in position and at the same time forming a contrast that was revealed as the paper was cut away, is this correct?

Can anyone help us with regards to information about it? Any ideas on "deciphering" or explaining the picture would be appreciated.

Doreen

 

This regular feature invites answers by email to members’ questions on an item of ephemera.

 

Ephemera - minor transient documents of every day life