Leonard Parkinson, captain of the Maroons

This is a watercolour of 1796 by H. Smith and is probably copied from a well known print. It is one of very few images drawn from life of the enslaved from the time of the slave trade. The British offered rewards for the capture of Maroon leaders, including Leonard Parkinson. The Maroons were self liberated slaves in Jamaica who fought the British to retain their independence. At the end of the First Maroon War, 1730 – 39, the British recognized their freedom and granted them land in return for their help in recapturing other runaway slaves. The European artist has portrayed Leonard Parkinson in profile, so he is almost faceless with the emphasis on his muscular body and weapons.

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Accession reference: Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives Mb6431