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Isaac Sailmaker, ca. 1633–1721, Dutch, active in Britain (from the 1640s)

The Island of Barbados

Former Title(s):

A Bird's Eye View of the Island of Barbados, c.1694

ca. 1694
Oil on canvas
Support (PTG): 44 1/2 x 91 inches (113 x 231.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
bird's-eye view | full-rigged ships | island | marine art | ships
Associated Places:
Barbados | Caribbean
On view in the galleries
IIIF Manifest:

Spanish explorers discovered Barbados in the early sixteenth century but showed little interest in exploiting the island. In 1625, British merchant adventurers seized Barbados from Spain and had begun cultivating the island with sugar plantations by the 1640s. Finding sugar production a labor-intensive process, and with no large population of native Caribs to put to work, British planters imported African slaves to toil in the fields and mills. Over twenty-six thousand slaves were transported from West Africa to Barbados in the twenty years before Sailmaker made this painting; and slave labor turned the island into the most profitable British colony in the seventeenth century. Sailmaker, a Dutch painter who settled in England, represents the British and Dutch merchant vessels that shipped slaves to Barbados and sugar back to European markets. He never visited the West Indies and based this painting entirely on maps and plans.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

Wilde Americk - Discovery and Exploration of the New World, 1500-1850 (Yale Center for British Art, 2001-09-27 - 2001-09-27) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Malcolm Cormack, Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 194-195, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, Mapping a National Style, topography & landscape at the Yale Center for British Art , Apollo, v. 165, no. 542, April, 2007, p. 55, fig. 3, N1 A54 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

The Yale Center for British Art, An Anniversary Celebration of Paul Mellon's Great Legacy , Apollo, April 2007, p. 55, fig. 3, N5220 M552 A7 OVERSIZE (YCBA) Appeared as April 2007 issue of Apollo;; all of the articles may also be found in bound Apollo Volume [N1 A54 165:2 +] [YCBA]

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