Jail Prisoners, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1819-1820

Click on the image to open a larger version in a new window.
previous image return to thumbnails  

If you are interested in using this image, please consult Acknowledging the Website.

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. 177 (plate 35 in the 1822 London edition). (Copy in University of Florida Library, Gainesville)

Title, "Food for Criminals," shows prisoners in the Rio jail taking "the daily pittance" of food for "their miserable brethren in Gaol." The man on the left carries a box containing bread or biscuit, while the iron pot suspended from the pole contains "the soup, meat, and vegetables." The "worst and most hardened" of the prisoners are "distinguished by irons round the leg, in addition to those on the neck" (pp. 232-233). The foreground figures in Chamberlain's book were probably copied from 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 (but not the ones of the "Jail Prisoners"), 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.)