'The Kroomen of Sierra Leone' [Bray album] by Gabriel Bray

'The Kroomen of Sierra Leone' [Bray album]

Gabriel Bray

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'The Kroomen of Sierra Leone' [Bray album] by Gabriel Bray zoom

'The Kroomen of Sierra Leone' [Bray album]

No. 63 of 74 (PAJ1976 - PAJ2049)

Presumably from the 'Pallas' voyage of 1774-75, and done when the ship was at Frenchman's Bay, Sierra Leone, from 17 February until it sailed on 2 March. Exactly what the men are doing is unclear, but since the one on the left holds a European claw hammer, the cloth below may hold nails exchanged in trade. The wooden half-butt also appears to be European.The Krumen are a subgroup of the Grebo people who today live mainly along the coast of Liberia and the Ivory Coast, and have a strong seafaring tradition. They are related to but distinct from the Kru people further inland, and who originated further north. In the days of the transatlantic slave trade, the Krumen, like the coastal Fante, had a history of co-operation with European traders.

This is one of 73 drawings by Bray (plus one signed 'NF 1782') preserved in a 19th-century album that was purchased for the Museum by the Macpherson Fund of the Society for Nautical Research in April 1991. They have now been separately remounted. Bray (1750-1823), was second lieutenant of the 44-gun 'Pallas' under Captain the Hon. William Cornwallis (1744-1819) - later a well-known admiral - on two voyages (1774-77) to report on British interests in West Africa, including the slave trade. The dated drawings refer only to the first of these, from December 1774 to September 1775, though a few may be from the second. Others comprise country views, some of Deal, Kent (where Bray may have come from), and others of social-history interest. For further details see PAJ1976.
Gabriel Bray

Original size: 218 mm x 277 mm

  • Image reference: PT2038

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