Portrait of an African

Portrait of a black individual, identity unconfirmed. From 2006 the sitter was thought to be Ignatius Sancho (c.1729 - 1780) composer, actor, shopkeeper and writer who was born on a slave ship and later became an important figure for the Abolitionist movement. From the 1960’s the painting was thought to portray Olaudah Equiano, (1745 – 1797) who was also enslaved, purchased his freedom and travelled widely, later becoming involved with Abolitionists.
The artist is also unconfirmed but the painting style has been closely linked to Allan Ramsay (1713 – 1784) and dated c.1758. Previously it was attributed to Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) and dated c.1780.
Research into this painting is ongoing.
Accession Loan No.
Collection Class
oil on canvas
Common Name
Portrait of an African
Simple Name
Full Name
Portrait of an African
stretcher H 618 mm; stretcher length 515 mm; frame H 744 mm; frame length 643 mm; frame depth 64 mm
Production Person Surname
Ramsay, attributed to; Reynolds, previously attributed to
Production Person Initials
Allan; Joshua
Period Classification
George II (1727-1760); George III (1760-1811)
Production Date
c 1758
Production Year Low
Production Year High
Production Town
London and Edinburgh; London
Production Country
United Kingdom: England; England
Production Area Region
Northern Europe
Production Continent
Family Group

Inscription / Transcription
1757 / PM Turner

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