Small Boats and Cape Coast Castle and Forts William, Victoria, and McCarthy, Gold Coast, mid-19th cent.

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This record was last updated on 09 Sep 2015

Image Reference

Drawings of Western Africa (University of Virginia Library, Special Collections, MSS 14357, no 7).

Ink, watercolor, crayon. The foreground shows several small boats, identified as “English boat” (shown with a rudder), “lighter for goods,” “surf boat,” “surf canoe,” as well as a “seat for high class passengers” and oars used on these vessels. Lack of natural harbors required ocean going vessels to anchor offshore, beyond the often treacherous surf; small boats were used to transport passengers and goods from ship to shore (see, for example, image references “mariners28,” “sievers”). The center is dominated by a view of Cape Coast Castle (Cabo Corso), with old cannons scattered along the shore in the foreground. Forts William, Victoria, and McCarthy are on top of three hills in the background. The artist gives a tentative date of 1485 to Cape Coast Castle, but it was first constructed in the 1650s. This is one of 22 works displayed on this website of West African coastal scenes -- out of a total of 32 -- held by University of Virginia Library. None of the works is dated or signed, and they seem to have been done by at least two different persons (perhaps associated with missionary activities in West Africa and/or the American Colonization Society). See also other image references “UVA” on this website.