BLACK ARTISTS, BLACK MODELS: A Selling ExhibitionLondon
Free People of Colour with a Servant in a Landscape, After 1770
ProvenanceChristie's, London, 28 April 1977, lot 23; with the Parker Gallery, London; private collection, London; Christie's London, 8 April 1998, lot 50; private collection, United Kingdom
In 1764, the Italian painter Agostino Brunias accompanied the colonial Governor Sir William Young on a voyage to Barbados. Over the course of the following two decades, Brunias painted scenes of Dominica, Saint Vincent, Saint Christopher, and Barbados which offer an idealized and wholly artificial view of Caribbean planation life. Here, a fashionably dressed mixed race couple—free people of colour—are shown conversing, perhaps even flirting, while a black servant holding the lady’s parasol is relegated to the periphery. In the right background is Fort Young, built in 1770 and named for Brunias’s patron, who ordered the construction of the fortress during the American War of Independence.