Historical Portraits Picture Archive

A Servant, c.1770 

Colonial School 

A Servant, c.1770, Colonial School
Oil on canvas
18th Century
30 x 25 in (76.2 x 63.5 cm)
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This portrait of a black servant in an interior is an interesting example of a humane and sensitive characterisation as a servant as an individual, rather than as a an extra in their master''s lives. Black servants in particular appear in earlier decades as accoutrements of fashionable life, but here the young boy is shown with character and insight, and was clearly a favoured companion among servants. His intimate position in his master or more probably mistress''s household is shown by the fact that he is cupbearer, and trusted and loved by their lapdog.
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