Mar 29, 2018 - Sale 2471

Sale 2471 - Lot 3

Price Realized: $ 4,160
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,500
(SLAVERY AND ABOLITION.) Sartain, John, engraver. Cinque, the Chief of the Amistad Captives. Mezzotint engraving, 17 1/2 x 12 inches, with a plate mark of 12 1/2 x 9 1/4 inches and large margins; mat toning, dampstaining and foxing in and below caption area, 1/4-inch hole in margin, long closed tear along upper platemark with old paper repair on verso, light creasing. [Philadelphia: Robert Purvis, 1841]

Additional Details

A powerful portrait of the leader of the Amistad slave ship rebellion, produced shortly before United States v. the Amistad was heard by the United States Supreme Court. Robert Purvis, a leader of Philadelphia's free black community, commissioned the original painting of Cinque by New Haven artist Nathaniel Jocelyn, and then had master engraver John Sartain produce these mezzotints for sale in anti-slavery offices to assist in support of the captives. Each includes a facsimile of Cinque's signature, which he learned to write while awaiting the outcome of the court proceedings. The portrait was praised in the Colored American, a New York newspaper: "Who that has any humanity in his heart, or any veneration for a hero, and who has any knowledge of this case, would not like to have this likeness about them" (27 February 1841). A copy of this print hangs in the study at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site.