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Coloring the Caribbean: Agostino Brunias and the painting of race in the British West Indies, c.1765-1800

Black Caribbean Literature (BCL)
Bagneris,Amanda Michaela (Author)
Publication Date:
Massachusetts: Harvard University
African American Research Center, Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject Term:
Caribbean area, History, Blacks, Art and artists, Native Americans, 18th century, Brunias, Agostino, Interracial art, Painting
261 p., Italian painter Agostino Brunias first traveled to the Caribbean sometime around 1770 in the employ of Sir William Young, First Baronet, a British aristocrat who had been charged with overseeing the sale of lands in the islands won by Britain from France at the end of the Seven Years War. Working primarily on the islands of Dominica and St. Vincent, as Young's official painter, Brunias was ostensibly charged with documenting the exotic bounty and diversity of the islands. For roughly the next quarter century, he painted for plantocrats and the colonial elite, creating romanticized tableaux that featured Caribbeans of color--so called "Red" and "Black" Caribs, dark-skinned Africans and Afro-Creoles, and people of mixed race. Examines how the artist's images reflected and refracted ideas about race commonly held by Britons in the colonial Caribbean during the late 18th century.