French Set-Girls

Description

This lithographs shows women and men dancing, while a man sits on top of large circular drum. Belisario explained how these African and Creole enslaved people came to Jamaica with their owners from St. Domingue during the Haitian Revolution. He described how “the French Sets are invariably observers of taste and decorum, considering it derogatory to dance elsewhere than in dwelling-houses, or within walled premises. . . They have their Queen and allow male companions to join in their dances, during which two drums or ‘Tamboos’ are played, and an instrument shaken, called a ‘Shaka.' . . The tasteful style in which the French Girls tie their kerchiefs on their heads, has ever been the envy of the Creole [women] of Jamaica, who make ineffectual efforts to imitate it.” Isaac Mendes Belisario (1795–1849) was a Jamaican artist of Jewish descent and active in Kingston Jamaica around British emancipation in 1833. The image shown here, as well as others of “John-Canoes,” was drawn from life by Belisario in 1836. This lithograph is one of twelve originally published in three parts, four plates at a time.

Source

Isaac Mendes Belisario, Sketches of character, in illustration of the habits, occupation, and costume of the Negro population, in the island of Jamaica: drawn after nature, and in lithography (Kingston, Jamaica: Published by the artist, 1837-1838).

Creator

Belisario, Isaac Mendes

Date Created

1838

Language

English

Rights

Image is in the public domain. Metadata is available under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International.

Identifier

Belisario01

Spatial Coverage

Caribbean--Jamaica--Kingston

Citation

"French Set-Girls", Slavery Images: A Visual Record of the African Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Early African Diaspora, accessed February 27, 2020, http://www.slaveryimages.org/s/slaveryimages/item/2307
This lithographs shows women and men dancing, while a man sits on top of large circular drum. Belisario explained how these African and Creole enslaved people came to Jamaica  with their owners from St. Domingue during the Haitian Revolution. He described how “the French Sets are invariably observers of taste and decorum, considering it derogatory to dance elsewhere than in dwelling-houses, or within walled premises. . . They have their Queen and allow male companions to join in their dances, during which two drums or ‘Tamboos’ are played, and an instrument shaken, called a ‘Shaka.' . . The tasteful style in which the French Girls tie their kerchiefs on their heads, has ever been the envy of the Creole [women] of Jamaica, who make ineffectual efforts to imitate it.” Isaac Mendes Belisario (1795–1849) was a Jamaican artist of Jewish descent and active in Kingston Jamaica around British emancipation in 1833. The image shown here, as well as others of “John-Canoes,” was drawn from life by Belisario in 1836. This lithograph is one of twelve originally published in three parts, four plates at a time.
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