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The silhouette depicts Edward Berkeley Portman, an officer of the 56th Foot, the Essex Regiment, wearing white trousers, a scarlet coat with a high blue collar, silver lace and regimental buttons and a pale grey shako with gold lace and tassels with a plume. Militaria specialist Philip Haythorn-thwaite pointed out that pale grey shakos such as the one in this portrait were rarely depicted in silhouettes of soldiers, as they were usually only worn by regiments serving in tropical climates.

Historical research revealed that Edward Portman sat for his portrait on the Isle of Wight while waiting for his ship to take him to the East in 1812.

The first battalion of the 56th served in India from 1805-15 and in Mauritius from 1815-25, while the second battalion was stationed in India between 1807-17.

Painted on card in a black frame and measuring 47/8in by 31/4in (12.5 x 8.2cm) the silhouette was offered in reasonably good condition with expectations of £3000-5000 and sold to a dealer acting on behalf of a collector, underbid by a bidder on the telephone, at a hammer price of £5000.