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Portrait of Negro James who became white, (painting)

Peale, Charles W.
Exhibition Catalogs
Appears in exhibition catalog as entry no. 225
He was born in Charles County, Maryland, in the house of Mr. Bowman, as he says, of a white father and black mother, . . . He was born with some white locks of hair which still remain. He was of a Negro, or dark Mulatto colour, till he was about fifteen years of age, when some white spots appeared on his skin, which have spread so much, that in October 1791, when this account was penned, his skin was white from head to foot, except only some few brown splotches on his face. The changes, he says, were very slow and partial, spots of the skin becoming of a reddish brown colour, which appeared stationary for several months, and then gradually became white, and was much more tender than before, and more easily burnt by the sun than the black--that the changes of late have been more rapid than formerly, and when he was about 35 years old, there was no more white, than there is now black. He has a lock of white hair on his chin; this, and the white on his head, gives him an odd appearance. He has a Negro wife and several children, who are all black. One of them was born with some white locks of hair on his head, but whether or not there has been in any change in his colour, we are ignorant. He successively belonged to the above mentioned Mr. Bowman, Wm. Hancock, J. Hopewell, Colonel Hopewell, and John Bloodworth, . . . [P. 56.]
Historical Catalogue of the Paintings in the Philadelphia Museum consisting chiefly of Portraits of Revolutionary Patriots and other distinguished characters. 1813.
Portrait male
State of Being--Illness
Control number:
AECI 01740155
Data Source:
Pre-1877 Art Exhibition Catalogue Index

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