New World Agriculture & Plantation Labor

  • Plantation Slaves, Brazil, 1830s

    Showing the clothing of a man and woman, both holding agricultural tools. For an analysis of Rugendas' drawings, as these were informed by his anti-slavery views, see Robert W. Slenes, African Abrahams, Lucretias and Men of Sorrows: Allegory and Allusion in the Brazilian Anti-slavery Lithographs (1827-1835) of Johann Moritz Rugendas (Slavery & Abolition, vol. 23 [2002], pp. 147-168).
  • Weeding Rice Field, U.S. South, 19th cent.

    A gang of men and women with long-handled hoes.
  • Coffee Plantation, Brazil, 19th cent.

    Captioned, plantation scene-coffee; men and women gathering and drying coffee beans. No explanation is given for this illustration, but it is clearly based on one in Johann Moritz Rugendas, Voyage Pittoresque dans le Bresil (Paris, 1835); see image reference NW0050.
  • Picking Cotton, Georgia, 1858

    Men, women, and children in the field. Accompanies an article, Cotton Picking in Georgia (p. 49): The spirited engraving . . . is from a graphic sketch made expressly for us . . . and represents a party of field hands in Georgia picking cotton in the fall.
  • Field Gang at Work, Martinique, 1826

    Caption, Negres au Travail (blacks at work). Shows men and women with long-handled hoes, guarded by overseers with whips. The slaves are called to work by the plantation bell at 6 in the morning, each person takes his hoe to the field under the supervision of overseers, either European or Creole; in a single line, they work in unison while chanting some African work song; the overseers occasionally use the whip to increase the work pace; at 11 the bell sounds, they take a meal, then resume their work until 6 in the evening (p. 26).
  • Portable Sugar Mill, Brazil,1816-1831

    Caption: petit moulin a sucre portatif [small portable sugar mill]; two men turning the mill, two others feed the vertical rollers. The engravings in this book were taken from drawings made by Debret during his residence in Brazil from 1816 to 1831. For watercolors by Debret of scenes in Brazil, some of which were incorporated into his Voyage Pittoresque, see Jean Baptiste Debret, Viagem Pitoresca e Historica ao Brasil (Editora Itatiaia Limitada, Editora da Universidade de Sao Paulo, 1989; a reprint of the 1954 Paris edition, edited by R. De Castro Maya).
  • Cultivation of Indigo, French West Indies, late 18th cent.

    The plate, titled
  • Stacking Wheat, Culpeper, Virginia, 1863

    A drawing made by Edwin Forbes (1839-1895) which shows men and women in a field stacking wheat; two oxcarts in the foreground.
  • Wm. Gribble's Best Virginia Tobacco Barnstaple

    A black and white engraving shows a black man smoking a long-stemmed pipe. This paper is 3 1/8 inches H x 2 3/8 W, and is one of 41 tobacco papers of similar dimensions at Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia issued by tobacconists in England, including this one from Barnstaple, Devon.
  • Rice Planting, South Carolina, early 1890s

    Women sowing rice on a South Carolina plantation; a Black overseer supervises the work. Although several decades after emancipation, this scene may evoke images of the late ante-bellum period.
  • Sugar Plantation Mill Yard, Antigua, West Indies, 1823

    Original caption, A Mill Yard, on Gamble's Estate. Shows a windmill with its sails into the wind; canes being brought in ox carts, slaves heading cane loads into the mill rollers and stacking cane stalks. A black driver is shown at the base of the windmill, and the white owner/manager is overseeing the scene. Little is known of William Clark although he was probably a manager or overseer of plantations in Antigua. The ten prints in the collection (only 9 of which are shown on this website) are based on his drawings, converted into prints by professional printmakers. All of the prints are shown and extensively described in T. Barringer, G. Forrester, and B. Martinez-Ruiz, Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and his Worlds (New Haven : Yale Center for British Art in association with Yale University Press, 2007), pp. 318-321; the descriptions in the Yale publication are based on Clark's unpaginated text
  • Tobacco Production, Virginia (?) late 18th cent.

    Illustrates various stages in the processing of tobacco, and is captioned, from top to bottom: a) the common tobacco house; b) tobacco hanging upon a scaffold; c) the operation of prizing; d) inside view of a tobacco house, shewing the tobacco hanging to cure; e) an outside view of public warehouses; f) an inside view of the public warehouse, shewing the process of inspection.
  • Husking Corn

    This image depicts a group of enslaved men singing while husking corn at a big table at an unspecified place in the U.S. South. Note the fiddle player in the upper right. This image shows an enslaved man dancing in front of a crowd at an unidentified place in the U.S. South. On the left, a man plays a banjo. Harper's Weekly: A Journal of Civilization was an American political magazine based in New York City and published by Harper & Brothers from 1857 until 1916. It featured foreign and domestic news, fiction, essays on many subjects and humor, alongside illustrations. It covered the American Civil War extensively, including many illustrations of events from the war.
  • The First Cotton-Gin

    This image shows two black men operating the gin, while women carried bales with children helping. White men oversee this operation. The illustration accompanies an article describing the construction of this gin, a model that preceded the one invented by Eli Whitney (p. 814) . A version of this image was later published in Charles C. Coffin, Building the Nation (New York, 1883), p. 76. Harper's Weekly: A Journal of Civilization was an American political magazine based in New York City and published by Harper & Brothers from 1857 until 1916. It featured foreign and domestic news, fiction, essays on many subjects and humor, alongside illustrations. It covered the American Civil War extensively, including many illustrations of events from the war.
  • Tobacco Production, Virginia, 18th cent.

    A tobacco label, The Virginia Planters Best Tobacco, shows pipe-smoking white planter surrounded by slaves with long-handled hoes; one of latter shades the former from the sun with an umbrella.
  • Shipping Tobacco, Virginia, ca. 1755

    Wharf scene, showing slaves working with hogsheads of tobacco, and white merchants; one of slaves is serving one of the whites with a drink; shipping in background.
  • Digging Holes for Planting Sugar Cane, Antigua, West Indies, 1823

    Caption, Holeing a Cane-Piece, on Weatherell's Estate. Shows first gang of enslaved men and women using long-handled hoes to dig cane holes; others are marking the field for where the holes will be placed. A black driver is supervising the work. Little is known of William Clark although he was probably a manager or overseer of plantations in Antigua. The ten prints in the collection (only 9 of which are shown on this website) are based on his drawings, converted into prints by professional printmakers. All of the prints are shown and extensively described in T. Barringer, G. Forrester, and B. Martinez-Ruiz, Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and his Worlds (New Haven : Yale Center for British Art in association with Yale University Press, 2007), pp. 318-321; the descriptions in the Yale publication are based on Clark's unpaginated text
  • Planting Sugar Cane, Antigua, West Indies, 1823

    Caption, Planting the Sugar Cane, on Bodkins Estate, shows men and women of the first gang planting cane in cane holes, supervised by black overseers; windmill in background. Little is known of William Clark although he was probably a manager or overseer of plantations in Antigua. The ten prints in the collection (only 9 of which are shown on this website) are based on his drawings, converted into prints by professional print makers. All of the prints are shown and extensively described in T. Barringer, G. Forrester, and B. Martinez-Ruiz, Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and his Worlds (New Haven : Yale Center for British Art in association with Yale University Press, 2007), pp. 318-321; the descriptions in the Yale publication are based on Clark's unpaginated text and quotations from that text.
  • Sugar Cane Cultivation, Trinidad, 1836

    Caption, Planting the sugar cane. Men and women digging cane holes and planting cane; long-handled hoes, machetes, gourd water containers. The land being cleared, the field is formed into beds, and . . . round ridged; it is then lined off with a chain for the cane holes, which Caption, Planting the sugar cane. Men and women digging cane holes and planting cane; long-handled hoes, machetes, gourd water containers. The land being cleared, the field is formed into beds, and . . . round ridged; it is then lined off with a chain for the cane holes, which are dug with a hoe, and at from four to five feet distance . . . . are dug with a hoe, and at from four to five feet distance . . . . two or three [cane plants] are fixed in each hole in an inclined position (Bridgens). A sculptor, furniture designer and architect, Richard Bridgens was born in England in 1785, but in 1826 he moved to Trinidad where his wife had inherited a sugar plantation, St. Clair. Although he occasionally returned to England, he ultimately lived in Trinidad for seven years and died in Port of Spain in 1846. Bridgens' book contains 27 plates, thirteen of which are shown on this website. The plates were based on drawings made from life and were done between 1825, when Bridgens arrived in Trinidad, and 1836, when his book was published. Although his work is undated, the title page of a copy held by the Beinecke Rare Book Room at Yale University has a front cover with a publication date of 1836, the date usually assigned to this work by major libraries whose copies lack a title page. Bridgens' racist perspectives on enslaved Africans and his defense of slavery are discussed in T. Barringer, G. Forrester, and B. Martinez-Ruiz, Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and his Worlds (Yale University Press, 2007), pp. 460-461. Bridgensí life is discussed extensively along with discussion of his drawings and presentation of many details on slave life in Trinidad in Judy Raymond, The Colour of Shadows: Images of Caribbean Slavery (Coconut Beach, Florida: Caribbean Studies Press, 2016). Raymondís book, which is an essential source for any study of Bridgens, also includes a number of unpublished sketches of Trinidadian slave life. See also Brian Austen, Richard Hicks Bridgens (Oxford Art Online/Grove Art Online).
  • Sugar Cane Harvest, Antigua, West Indies, 1823

    Caption: Cutting the Sugar Cane, on Delap's Estate, men and women in first gang, black driver supervising; white manager/overseer on horseback. Little is known of William Clark although he was probably a manager or overseer of plantations in Antigua. The ten prints in the collection (only 9 of which are shown on this website) are based on his drawings, converted into prints by professional printmakers. All of the prints are shown and extensively described in T. Barringer, G. Forrester, and B. Martinez-Ruiz, Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and his Worlds (New Haven : Yale Center for British Art in association with Yale University Press, 2007), pp. 318-321; the descriptions in the Yale publication are based on Clark's unpaginated text and quotations from that text.
  • Sugar Cane Harvest, Trinidad, 1836

    Caption, cutting canes. Men and women in first gang cutting cane; two women in lower left, one drinks from a gourd container, the other smokes a pipe. Ox cart is loaded with canes to be taken to the mill. Cutting canes in general commences in January . . . . The Negro seizes the cane by the top, cuts off the upper joints to plant for the next crop; he then cuts down the remaining stem close to the ground (Bridgens). A sculptor, furniture designer and architect, Richard Bridgens was born in England in 1785, but in 1826 he moved to Trinidad where his wife had inherited a sugar plantation, St. Clair. Although he occasionally returned to England, he ultimately lived in Trinidad for seven years and died in Port of Spain in 1846. Bridgens' book contains 27 plates, thirteen of which are shown on this website. The plates were based on drawings made from life and were done between 1825, when Bridgens arrived in Trinidad, and 1836, when his book was published. Although his work is undated, the title page of a copy held by the Beinecke Rare Book Room at Yale University has a front cover with a publication date of 1836, the date usually assigned to this work by major libraries whose copies lack a title page. Bridgens' racist perspectives on enslaved Africans and his defense of slavery are discussed in T. Barringer, G. Forrester, and B. Martinez-Ruiz, Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and his Worlds (Yale University Press, 2007), pp. 460-461. Bridgensí life is discussed extensively along with discussion of his drawings and presentation of many details on slave life in Trinidad in Judy Raymond, The Colour of Shadows: Images of Caribbean Slavery (Coconut Beach, Florida: Caribbean Studies Press, 2016). Raymondís book, which is an essential source for any study of Bridgens, also includes a number of unpublished sketches of Trinidadian slave life. See also Brian Austen, Richard Hicks Bridgens (Oxford Art Online/Grove Art Online).
  • Sugar Cane Harvest, Jamaica, 1820s

    Caption, Jamaica Negroes Cutting Cane in their Working Dresses. Men and women in first gang cutting cane; supervised by a black driver with his staff.
  • Stream-Powered Sugar Mill, Cuba, 1859

    Sugar cane being brought to mill yard on ox carts; slaves engaged in various jobs; white overseers.
  • Shipping Sugar, Antigua, West Indies, 1823

    Caption, Shipping Sugar, Willoughby Bay; shows slaves rolling hogsheads of sugar, brought to shore by ox carts, aboard lighters for transport to ocean- going vessels. Little is known of William Clark although he was probably a manager or overseer of plantations in Antigua. The ten prints in the collection (only 9 of which are shown on this website) are based on his drawings, converted into prints by professional printmakers. All of the prints are shown and extensively described in T. Barringer, G. Forrester, and B. Martinez-Ruiz, Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and his Worlds (New Haven : Yale Center for British Art in association with Yale University Press, 2007), pp. 318-321; the descriptions in the Yale publication are based on Clark's unpaginated text and quotations from that text.
  • Sugar Boiling House, Antigua, West Indies, 1823

    Captioned Interior of a Boiling House, this shows the process of sugar making and the coppers (large vats) in which the cane juice was boiled and crystallized into sugar. Little is known of William Clark although he was probably a manager or overseer of plantations in Antigua. The ten prints in the collection (only 9 of which are shown on this website) are based on his drawings, converted into prints by professional printmakers. All of the prints are shown and extensively described in T. Barringer, G. Forrester, and B. Martinez-Ruiz, Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and his Worlds (New Haven : Yale Center for British Art in association with Yale University Press, 2007), pp. 318-321; the descriptions in the Yale publication are based on Clark's unpaginated text and quotations from that text.
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