‘Shades by the Seaside’ is an intervention by Llandudno-based artist Alana Tyson. Traditionally known as “shades,” silhouette portraits first gained popularity in the 18th century and saw a revival in the early 20th century. Inexpensive and quick to produce, silhouettes were an alternative to painted miniature portraits. The traditional method of creating silhouette portraits is for the artist to cut then by eye from black card, usually completed within a few minutes; carried out by specialist practitioners at booths at fairs or markets. These portraits were often passed on to loved-ones, to be used for remembrance when the loved-one was absent.

During a one-on-one encounter , two “shades” will be created; Alana Tyson will cut one silhouette in the traditional manner with scissors whilst she leads the sitter through the mental creation of a second portrait of a departed loved-one.

Britain’s most famous silhouette artist, Harry L. Oakley, operated out of a studio on the Llandudno pier from 1922 to the late 50’s. Such was Oakley’s love of the Llandudno area that his ashes were scattered in the churchyard of St Tudno’s Church, high up on the Great Orme, overlooking the town and pier. A memorial in the churchyard commemorates him as an “Artist and Silhouettist”.

A few exquisite examples of his work can be found at The National Portrait Gallery in London .


  • Where: Promenade
  • When: Friday, Saturday and Sunday
  • Times: 11.00 – 17.00 every day
  • Local artist
  • Competition winner