Hawkers and Sawyers, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1819-1820

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This record was last updated on 19 Feb 2016

Image Reference

Henry Chamberlain, Views and costumes of the city and neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from drawings taken by Lieutenant Chamberlain, Royal Artillery, during the years 1819 and 1820, with descriptive explanations (London, 1822), plate 30. The illustration shown here is taken from the facsimile edition with biographical notes by Joaquim de Sousa Leao (published by Kosmos, Rio de Janeiro, 1974; printed in The Netherlands).

From right to left: man with tin can on his head is a milkman; the woman heading the pail sells water ("the iron round her neck showing that she is given to absenting herself in the woods"); and a woman who sells fruit. In the left background, two men are sawing wood planks in the "usual manner": "When a log is to be cut. . . it is securely fastened at about two-thirds of its length by a chain, beneath the vertex of a triangular frame; upon the projecting third, one of the Negroes places himself, the other leisurely taking his seat below. Thus disposed, they commence their work with a short, narrow, powerless saw, generally stopping for a few seconds after every third stroke . . . . This may be taken as a sample of the rude way in which labour of every sort is generally performed in this country; where it would almost seem that, provided the slave be kept constantly employed, the quantity of work done signifies little . .. ." The foreground figures in Chamberlain's book were copied from four separate water-colors drawn earlier by Joaquim Candido Guillobel. Born in Portugual in 1787, Guillobel came to Brazil in 1808, and from 1812 started "drawing and painting small pictures on cards of everyday scenes in Rio de Janeiro." For biographical details on Guillobel, who died in 1859, and reproductions of about 60 of his original drawings in color (including the ones shown here), see Joaquim Candido Guillobel, Usos e Costumes do Rio de Janeiro nas figurinhas de Guillobel [1978]. The text of this volume is given in both Portuguese and English; the author of the biographical notes who is, presumably the compiler of the volume, is not given in the Library of Congress copy that was consulted. (See this website, "Chamberlain" for related drawings.)