French Slave Ship, La Marie-Séraphique, Saint Domingue, 1773

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This record was last updated on 16 Mar 2017

Image Reference

Watercolor by unknown artist, in Musée du Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne, Nantes, France. Published in Madeline Burnside (ed.), Spirits of the Passage (New York, 1977), p. 124 and E.D.C. Campbell and K.S. Rice, eds., Before Freedom Came: African-American Life in the Antebellum South (Univ. Press of Virginia, 1991), plate 6, p. xv.

One of two known artistic representations of La Marie-Séraphique, a French ship active in the late eighteenth-century Atlantic slave trade. This watercolor by an unknown artist is held in the Musée du Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne, Nantes. The image gives a view of the ship in the harbor at Cap Francais. Shown are the purchase of slaves aft on the main deck, an iron barrier separating them from the quarter-deck, and Europeans apparently having a picnic on the stern; also cross- section of ship's hull with storage quarters. Caption on illustration reads: "Vue du Cap Francais et du n[avi]re la Marie Seraphique de Nantes, Capitaine Gaugy, le jour de l'ouverture de sa vente, troisieme voyage d'Angole, 1772,1773" [View of Cap Francais and the Marie Seraphique of Nantes/Captain Gaugy/the day of the opening of its [slave] sale [after] its third voyage from Angola, 1772, 1773]. A black/white view of the other representation of this ship is published in Jean Boudriot, Traite et Navire Negrier(Paris 1984), p. 89, which also describes physical features of the ship.