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Historically Interesting, Evocative Aquatint of Antigua

Antigua/ Slave Emancipation. STOBWASSER, L./ HURLIMANN [Basel, 1835]
Vue de Gracehill dans I’Isle d’Antigoa aux Indes occidentales. 8 ¾ x 11 1/8 inches
Aquatint with fine original color; slight mended edge split, few spots, else excellent.


A luminously colored view that effectively evokes the island’s distinctively hilly and mountainous terrain. The view appeared at a significant moment in history of Antigua’s black population and relates directly to that history. As indicated below the view’s title, it was published for the benefit of Moravian missionary work, which was long established on Antigua from as early as 1742. Both on Antigua and elsewhere, Moravians forcefully supported both the education and emancipation of slaves. And in 1834, a year before this view appeared, slavery was declared illegal in all British colonies. Antigua was the first place where slaves were actually emancipated. Moravian missionaries were very active in aiding the integration of manumitted into the general society. This view depicts the Moravian estate called Grace Hill, located near the island’s capital of St. John; it is now part of the village of Liberta. In the view can be seen a compound of houses to quarter emancipated slaves. In the foreground are two black or mulatto figures in European dress on either side of a hunched black woman with three children carrying provisions. Perhaps this human tableau was meant to contrast the pre-and post-slavery conditions of the island’s blacks.

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