Shopkeeper and Tailor, Paramaribo, Suriname, ca. 1831

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This record was last updated on 03 May 2012

Image Reference

Pierre Jacques Benoit, Voyage a Surinam . . . cent dessins pris sur nature par l'auteur (Bruxelles, 1839), plate xvi, fig. 32. (Copy in the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University)

The shop of a "vette-warier" or retailer (left) who is selling goods (beads) to several Amerindians. A tailor's shop is on the right; a man (slave or free?) is being measured for clothing. The "vette-warier," Benoit writes, are usually owned by Jewish merchants, but the tailor shops are sometimes held by slaves who have slaves working for them. Benoit (1782-1854), a Belgian artist, visited Suriname around 1831 and apparently stayed for several months. The 100 lithographs in his book (hand colored in the John Carter Brown copy), accompanied by textual descriptions of varying detail, are derived from drawings he made during his visit, which included time in Paramaribo, the capital, as well as trips into the interior visiting Maroons and Amerindians. Forty of his lithographs, with our translations from the French text, are shown on this website.