Recently Arrived Enslaved Africans, 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), plate 29. 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). (Copy in Widener Library, Harvard University)

Title, "Sick Slaves". This image shows, Chamberlain writes, a group of "newly-imported invalid Negroes . . . taking the air . . . under the care of a Capataz, or keeper, who generally bears the badge of his office--a whip--more for show than use. These miserable creatures . . . have the appearance of scarecrows, and it is sometimes extraordinary how such emaciated beings can muster sufficient strength to walk about." In the right-hand corner, two other African-born slaves are carrying baskets and playing musical instruments: on the left, the man, a native of Mozambique, is playing an "instrument of his country, called the "Madimba, a sort of violin with a single wire" while on the right, a "Congo Negro, is performing . . . upon the Sambee, an instrument of his country." The foreground figures in Chamberlain's book were copied from three 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.)