Sugar Boiling House, Cuba, ca. 1850

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This record was last updated on 27 Jan 2011

Image Reference

Album Pintoresco de la Isla de Cuba (Havana[?], 1851 [?]), plate 26 (copy in Special Collections, University of Virginia Library). The University of Miami copy is cataloged as Havana [ca. 1850]; other libraries give Havana, with various dates, e.g., 1851, 1853, 1855. See also comments.

Caption, "Vista de una Casa de Calderas," shows slaves boiling sugar in large cauldrons in background and, in foreground, whites being served drinks by a slave( left ) and sugar pots on table (right). The Library of Congress (Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ62-2817) has a b/w photograph of this image, but does not identify the original Spanish-language source. A very similar, but not identical, image captioned "Sugar Boiling" appears in Harper's New Monthly Magazine (vol. 6, Jan. 1853, p. 168) accompanying an anonymously authored article, "by an artist" titled "Three Weeks in Cuba." This article provides a brief description of sugar manufacture, including the use of the "unglazed earthenware", the sugar pots shown on the right, used for draining the molasses (see also image reference LOC-CUBA for more on this estate from same article). This and other lithographs in this album were done by the French artist Frederic/Federico Mialhe, who lived in Cuba from 1838 to 1854; they were plagiarized by Bernardo May who had them published under his own name. (Thanks to Lesbia O, Varona for help in identifying this item and clarifying bibliographic issues; see also, Emilio Cueto, Mialhe's Colonial Cuba [Miami, The Historical Association of Southern Florida, 1994].)