One of over 300 drawings of landscapes and enslaved people in Jamaica by William Berryman, 1808-1815.
This pen sketch is one of a collection of over 300 sketches and watercolours by William Berryman, an English artist who lived in Jamaica between 1808 and 1815. Berryman intended to use his drawings as the basis for a series of lithographs but died before completing his project. The drawings are contained in an album owned by the Library of Congress in Washington DC. As well as landscapes, Berryman drew enslaved people going about everyday tasks. The subjects of his drawings are generally preoccupied and facing away from him but nevertheless have an immediacy unusual in portraits of enslaved people at this time.
The subject of this drawing has not been identified but, as driver, he held a senior position amongst the enslaved people on an estate. Note the whip over his right shoulder.
Eighty-six of Berryman’s drawings are digitised on the Library of Congress website, an extraordinary collection well worth viewing in detail.
Library of Congress LC-DIG-ppmsca-13420, ‘Driver, cold morning’ by William Berryman, grey ink, 14.5 x 8.2 cm.