A Slave Sale in Charleston, South Carolina (1854)

slave-sale-charleston_painted-version

‘A Slave Sale in Charleston, South Carolina’ by Eyre Crowe (1854)

Engraving of 'A Slave Sale in Charleston, South Carolina' by Eyre Crowe (1854)

Engraving of a sketch after ‘A Slave Sale in Charleston, South Carolina’ by Eyre Crowe (1854)

Medium: oil

Exhibited: Royal Scottish Academy, 1854; Library of Virginia, 2014 (facsimile version)

Owner: Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba

This was one of the first paintings to be finished after Crowe’s return from America. The engraving shown here, ‘from a sketch by Eyre Crowe’, is similar to the painting, but has many differences in detail. The engraving was based on the actual scene witnessed by Crowe in Charleston in 1853. He published it in the Illustrated London News on 29 November 1856, accompanying an essay which he concluded with a call for greater public condemnation of slavery by the British. The engraving is well known and copies are held by many galleries, print dealers and museums. Sometimes the copies are coloured. Two versions are held at the New York Public Library and appear on their digital gallery.

The painting was noticed in Cuba by staff from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, who alerted slavery painting expert Maurie McInnes to its existence. A digital version was displayed in the Library of Virginia’s exhibition ‘To Be Sold’ (October 2014-May 2015)

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