View of Bridgtown and part of Carlisle bay in the Island of Barbadoes
Edward Brenton was a naval officer, reaching the rank of captain. He was also naval historian and the younger brother of Vice-Admiral Sir Jahleel Brenton (see Cat.560). He served in the West Indies during the period of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. His sketchbook contains a series of topographical views of Jamaica and Barbados. Importantly it also offers rare portraits of black women living in Barbados in the period of slavery. They are shown to be well dressed, which suggests that they were free, giving a sense of the complexity of Caribbean society. As well as the obvious division between the enslaver and the enslaved, there were other gradations of status, liberty, occupation, gender and wealth within black and white communities.
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