|Silhouette of Jane Austen|
Etienne de Silhouette (1709-67) was the protégé of Madame de Pompadour, who was the mistress of Louis XV. Pompadour managed to secure Silhouette’s appointment as the Finance Minister of
in 1759. Due to the ravages of the Seven Years War (1756-63), Silhouette was
tasked with securing funds to rebuild the French Army. His plan involved the
implementation of new taxes on the nobility, which amounted to a luxury tax.
Unfortunately, Silhouette’s new taxes were not popular with the nobility of France and he
was soon forced into retirement within months. France
After this incident, anything done on the cheap was said in
to be à la silhouette. This included the new popular black-profile
portraits that were becoming very popular in France . France
This should be a lesson to anyone doing something that might end up having his or her name attached to it. For poor Silhouette, he is now synonymous with anything cheap.