In this image of a leisurely fishing party, a black servant dressed in an ornate gold and gray suit hands an object to a smiling young man. The party takes place in the right half of the frame, while the African American servant remains in the boat to unload goods and help the guests. The black man is not the center of the image, but he is fundamental to the success of the party. The image reflects his position in society. Black servants or slaves were rarely the center of art in England or its American colonies before the 19th century. (See also The Washington Family.) Their presence on the edge of a painting indicates their use as props to demonstrate the wealth of the whites at the picture’s center. It also reflects the status of African-descended people in both England and the British North American colonies. While their work was crucial to the functioning of society, they were unable to enjoy the pleasures of that society. < Back to Bayou Bend African American Material Culture: An Online Collection


Cataloguing data may change with further research.

If you have questions about this work of art or the MFAH Online Collection please contact us.

Artist
Probably Susan Parker, American, dates unknown
after a print of a painting by George Morland, English, 1763–1804
Title
Fishing Party
Date
c. 1815
Medium
Watercolor on wove paper
Dimensions
Sheet: 15 1/4 × 18 3/8 in. (38.7 × 46.7 cm)
Credit Line

The Bayou Bend Collection, gift of Miss Ima Hogg

Current Location
Not on view
Accession Number
B.55.18
Classification
Drawings, Pastels & Watercolors
Provenance

Acquired by Miss Hogg from Tenia Baumstone, New York, NY, March 1, 1955