Object number : BATVG : P : 1980.1

Art work type and title :

Design and creation :

Date : Creator role : Artist
Artist :
Creation place : Bath

Measurements :
Height (cm) : 89.5
Width (cm) : 70

Further information :
The boy in the picture is reported to have been an attendant on the doors at the Pump Room in the time of Bath's first Master of Ceremonies, Beau Nash.

This picture was painted at a time when the slave trade was in full swing. In the late 18th century, it was very fashionable to have black slaves as servants. Slaves were bought, sold, renamed, and moved from house to house without any regard for their feelings. When this was painted, there would have been many slaves working as servants in Bath.

The black boy has been painted in what is almost fancy dress, rather than the kind of clothes that 18th century servants normally wore.

We don’t know when or where William Jones was born or died, but we do know that he worked in Bath from 1769 to 1777. He normally painted still lifes - simple pictures of fruit and flowers. The Black Boy, however, is a much more ambitious painting. It has the look of a still life painting though; the artist is clearly interested in, and good at painting the way that light falls on different kinds of surfaces.

Viscountess Simon, who died in 1955, was the author of a book on slavery. This picture was given to the Gallery in memory of her and her husband by R.B. Dunwoody.

Indexing terms :

Location status : On display