Collections: American Art: Peter Beckford

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    Peter Beckford

    British Jamaicans eventually became immensely wealthy from sugar and coffee plantations manned by hundreds of thousands of enslaved Africans. Despite their success, planters and their descendants often remained insecure about the family’s merchant-class origins. Although William Beckford was by then England’s richest citizen, he felt compelled to commission completely fabricated posthumous portraits of his grandparents Peter and Bathshua (see illustration) as members of the island’s landed gentry. Peter is portrayed wearing a modified Van Dyck costume and holding a fantastic French map of his fertile Jamaica estates. He died the wealthiest planter in Jamaica.

    Los británicos jamaicanos eventualmente se hicieron inmensamente ricos gracias a las plantaciones de azúcar y café en las cuales trabajaban cientos de miles de esclavos africanos. A pesar de su éxito, los hacendados y sus descendientes siempre se sintieron inseguros debido a sus orígenes burgueses.

    Aunque William Beckford era entonces el ciudadano más rico de Inglaterra, se sintió obligado a comisionar retratos póstumos inventados de sus abuelos Peter y Bathshua (ver ilustración) como miembros de la alta burguesía de la isla. Peter aparece retratado usando un traje Van Dyck modificado y sosteniendo un fantástico mapa francés de los fértiles estados de Jamaica. Beckford murió siendo el hacendado más rico de Jamaica.

    • Artist: Benjamin West, American, 1738-1820
    • Medium: Oil on canvas
    • Dates: 1797
    • Dimensions: 57 1/2 x 45 3/8 in. (146 x 115.2 cm) frame: 70 x 58 x 4 in. (177.8 x 147.3 x 10.2 cm)  (show scale)
    • Signature: Signed, lower left: "B.West / 1797)
    • Collections:American Art
    • Museum Location: This item is not on view
    • Exhibitions:
    • Accession Number: 2012.44
    • Credit Line: Gift of Lilla Brown in memory of her husband, John W. Brown, by exchange
    • Rights Statement: No known copyright restrictions
    • Caption: Benjamin West (American, 1738-1820). Peter Beckford, 1797. Oil on canvas, 57 1/2 x 45 3/8 in. (146 x 115.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Lilla Brown in memory of her husband, John W. Brown, by exchange, 2012.44
    • Image: overall, CUR.2012.44_Sotheby_photograph.jpg. Sotheby's Photography
    • Record Completeness: Good (61%)
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