Originally published on Art UK.

In 1791, the Italian-born painter Agostino Brunias (c.1730–1796) left London for the West Indies on the ship of the sugar plantation owner and Governor of Dominica, Sir William Young.

By establishing himself as a 'colonial painter' in the tropical archipelago of the Caribbean in the 1770s, Brunias romanticised the slave labour and leisurely activities of a multicultural, creolised society under the British Empire. Yet he also painted black and mixed-race subjects with a kind of dignity and reverence rarely seen before in European art history…
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