The Black Boy

Image credit: Victoria Art Gallery

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This picture of a young black man was painted when the slave trade was in full swing. In the late 18th century, it was fashionable to have black slaves as servants. They were bought, sold, renamed, and moved from house to house without any regard for their feelings.

This sitter is said to have worked at the Pump Room, Bath. We have no firm evidence for this but there would certainly have been many slaves working in the city. His costume is almost fancy dress, rather than the kind of clothes that 18th-century servants normally wore.

William Jones worked in Bath from 1769 to 1777. He normally painted still life subjects of fruit and flowers.

Victoria Art Gallery



The Black Boy




oil on canvas


H 89.5 x W 70 cm

Accession number

BATVG : P : 1980.1

Acquisition method

gift from R. B. Dunwoody, 1963

Work type



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Victoria Art Gallery

Bridge Street, Bath, Somerset BA2 4AT England

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