BLACK ARTISTS, BLACK MODELS: A Selling ExhibitionLondon
Women of Dominica Bathing in a Stream
ProvenanceWilliam Lewis Bell, CMG, MBE, Founding Head of the British Development Division in the Caribbean, ODA, 1966-72
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 planation life. Here, a group of women of varied skin tones bathe in a stream. Although stripped of signifiers of social status such as costume, in Brunias’s works, free people of colour tend to be lighter skinned than their servants and slaves, indicating the internal hierarchies within the Black society the artist encountered in the Caribbean.