Peddlers or Hawkers, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1819-1820

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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). The illustration shown here is taken from the Brazilian (Portuguese) edition, Vistas e costumes de cidade e arredores do Rio de Janeiro em 1819-1820 (Livaria Kosmos, Rio de Janeiro, 1943), p. 95 (plate 34 in the 1822 London edition). (Copy in University of Florida Library, Gainesville)

The author writes that "peddlers are very common at Rio... [however] they are rarely the carriers of their goods, but, furnished with an umbrella to protect themselves from the . . . sun, walk their accustomed rounds followed by a slave bearing a tray and sometimes a glass case, containing the . . . articles they have for sale." The slave on the left, carrying a pot on his head, is wearing an iron around is neck, as a prevention against his repeated running away; the iron is "intended to render it difficult for him to make his way amongst the Bushes." The other man has leprosy, "a common disease of the country," and has a banana leaf tied around his leg; this is considered useful in reducing the swelling (pp. 212-213). 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.)