Unknown artist, Britain

A Black Model

c.1830–40

In Tate Britain
Artist
Unknown artist, Britain
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 1283 x 1016 mm
frame: 1385 x 1135 x 73 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1942
Reference
N05386

Display caption

The artist who painted this work is unknown, as is the identity of the young man represented here. The sitter’s luxurious jacket and waistcoat are Albanian, but his turban and loose trousers appear to be Turkish or North-African. The picture follows conventions of portraiture, with its focus on the man’s facial features and high-status dress. The combination of different styles, however, suggests that the figure might be intended to represent a fictional character, rather than a real person. At the time, in portraits like this, black people were often depicted dressed in costume and not named.

Gallery label, November 2018

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