Free Woman of Color, Barbados, 1770s

previous image return to thumbnails next image

Click on the image to open a larger version in a new window.

If you are interested in using this image, please consult Acknowledging the Website.

This record was last updated on 23 Mar 2012

Image Reference
NW0016

Source
Engraved print from painting by Agostino Brunias. See Comments.

Comments
Titled, "The Barbadoes Mulatto Girl," this shows a free woman of color purchasing fruit/vegetables from slave vendors (see also, image NW0149-a ). Agostino Brunias (sometimes incorrectly spelled Brunyas, Brunais), a painter born in Italy in 1730, came to England in 1758 where he became acquainted with William Young. Young had been appointed to a high governmental post in West Indian territories acquired by Britain from France, and in late 1764 Brunias accompanied Young to the Caribbean as his personal artist. Arriving at Barbados in early 1765 (where the sketch for the image shown here, perhaps for others as well, was probably done), Brunias stayed in the islands until around 1775, when he returned to England (exhibiting some of his paintings in the late 1770s) and visited the continent. He returned to the West Indies in 1784 and remained there until his death on the island of Dominica in 1796. Although Brunias primarily resided in Dominica he also spent time in St. Vincent, and visited other islands, including Barbados, Grenada, St. Kitts, and Tobago. See Lennox Honychurch, "Chatoyer's Artist: Agostino Brunias and the Depiction of St Vincent," for what is presently the most informative and balanced discussion of Brunias and his romanticized and idyllic paintings of West Indian scenes and slave life (Jl of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society, vol. 50 [2004], pp.104-128); see also Hans Huth, Agostino Brunias, Romano (The Connoisseur, vol. 51 [Dec. 1962], pp. 265-269).(A photograph of this print was given to Handler by the late Neville Connell, Director of the Barbados Museum). Four Brunias paintings, some containing elements of images shown on this website (including, for example, the slave woman in the lower right, above) can be seen on the website of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University.