Plantation Cooks, Suriname, ca. 1831


Pierre Jacques Benoit, Voyage a Surinam . . . cent dessins pris sur nature par l'auteur (Bruxelles, 1839), fig. 48 (bottom). (Copy in the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University)


Describing the layout of a plantation, the author writes that the kitchen is located about 15 or 20 steps behind the master's house, and is furnished with all the necessary utensils as well as an oven to bake bread (p. 30). The two people in the center are kitchen slaves or cooks; man on left is using a mortar and pestle. Benoit (1782-1854), a Belgian artist, visited Suriname around 1831 and apparently stayed for several months. The 100 lithographs in his book (hand colored in the John Carter Brown copy), accompanied by textual descriptions of varying detail, are derived from drawings he made during his visit, which included time in Paramaribo, the capital, as well as trips into the interior visiting Maroons and Amerindians. Forty of his lithographs, with our translations from the French text, are shown on this website.


Benoit, Pierre Jacques

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