manner of Sir Joshua Reynolds

A Young Black Man (?Francis Barber)

Not on display

Artist
Manner of Sir Joshua Reynolds 1723–1792
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 450 × 360 × 21 mm
frame: 615 × 530 × 120 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Bequeathed by Mrs Mary Venetia James 1948
Reference
N05843

Display caption

This portrait is now thought to be Francis Barber, born Quashey (c.1742-1801). Barber was born into slavery in Jamaica, on a sugarcane plantation belonging to the British Bathurst family. He was brought to England aged 15, by his enslaver Colonel Richard Bathurst. In 1755, when Bathurst died, Barber was freed. He later went to work for English writer Samuel Johnson. This picture is one of many student copies of a painting by Joshua Reynolds. Previous titles, including A Young Black, may suggest that as a Black man, Barber was being treated as an artistic subject, rather than as an individual.

Gallery label, March 2022

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