The Voyage of the Sable Venus from Angola to the West Indies

This etching is a plate by Thomas Stothard from the third edition of Bryan Edwards’ 'The history, civil and commercial, of the British colonies in the West Indies', (1801).

Thomas Stothard was a highly prolific artist and book illustrator. Inspired by Sandro Botticelli’s fifteenth-century masterpiece 'The Birth of Venus', Stothard presents an African woman (the ‘Sable Venus’) standing on a half-shell, attended by cherubs, being towed by dolphins to the Americas. To the left is Triton carrying the British flag and guiding the procession across the ocean, looking the woman.

This depiction of the Middle Passage there is no reference to the horrors endured by those transported across the Atlantic on slave ships.

Object Details

ID: ZBA2520
Collection: Special collections
Type: Print
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Stothard, Thomas; Grainger, W.
Date made: circa 1800
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Michael Graham-Stewart Slavery Collection. Acquired with the assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund
Measurements: Sheet: 260 mm x 207 mm; Image: 203 mm x 164 mm

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