A Slave Sale in Charleston, South Carolina is well known from engravings, such as the coloured version shown here, but the whereabouts of the original painting, first exhibited at The Royal Scottish Academy in 1854, has hitherto been unknown. It was discovered in the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana, Cuba, by staff at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and made known to the academic Maurie McInnes, whose research into the slave trade in Richmond, Virginia, and artistic representations of it, was based around Eyre Crowe’s even more famous painting, Slaves Waiting for Sale, Richmond, Virginia (1861).
McInnes has now curated an exhibition at the Library of Virginia: To Be Sold: Virginia and the American Slave Trade, which explores the dynamics of the slave trade. The exhibition features three of Eyre Crowe’s paintings: Slaves Waiting for Sale, Richmond, Virginia, lent from the private collection of Teresa Heinz; After the Sale: Slaves Going South from Richmond (1853), lent by the Chicago History Museum; and a full-size facsimile of A Slave Sale in Charleston, South Carolina.
The exhibition is described in an article by the Richmond Times Dispatch, and is open until 30 May 2015.