Early 19th century portrait of Captain John Lionel Smith
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A rare early 19th century portrait of Captain John Lionel Smith, ship’s captain and slave owner. According to a label verso, Smith was a slave own however the name of the ship in the background remains tantalisingly out of reach as the label as been damaged and is shown as “xxxxxx of Bristol”.
It is possible this is the same John Smith Captian of the slave ship, the "Lion of Bristol" who advertises in a newspaper of the period.
A number of ship's captain of the period went on to become slave owners.
Half length, oil on canvas in original frame. Relined.
Whilst we find Captain Smith's trade abhorrent, we recognise the historical context of the portrait.