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Sartjee, the Hottentot Venus.

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1872,0713.141

  • Title (object)

    • Sartjee, the Hottentot Venus.
  • Description

    Whole-length portrait of Saartjie Baartman, naked but for decorations such as beads, fringes, a patterned cap, shoes and a sheepskin mantle over her right shoulder; directed to left and with head in profile to left, but turning away to be seen partly from behind, wearing face-paint and smoking a pipe, holding a long pole in her outstretched left hand. 1810 Aquatint with etching, printed in brown ink

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  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Ethnic name

  • Date

    • 1810
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 361 millimetres
    • Width: 223 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered below image with title; inscribed on verso with "1/6 Parks [? or Park/er] [illegible inscription, possibly 1863]
  • Curator's comments

    The Museum also holds a worn and reworked impression, dated September 1810 and with Baartman's showman, Hendrick Cezar, named as publisher (see reg. no. 1917,1208.3712). Baartman arrived in London in 1810; as this has no publication line and is a finer impression, it is presumably a proof or early state.

    Impressions of this print (with variant publication lines) were used as advertisements for Baartman's show in both London and Paris (see P R Kirby, 'The Hottentot Venus,' Africana Notes and News 6/3 (June 1949), pp.55-62). The figure in this print was widely copied, especially during the years of her performance (1810-15), but was still used by some satirists after her death. The British Museum holds an anonymous, reversed copy of the print entitled 'Sartjee the Hotentot Venus / from Gamtoos River South Africa' (J,2.36), etched in the manner of a satirical print. Satirical prints using the figure can be traced in George's 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires...' (BMSat) and in De Vinck; the clearest examples (from 1810-1811) are BMSat 11577-8, 11580, 11602, 11748 and 14449 (dated 1822, a probable reissue of an 1810/11 print).

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  • Location

    Not on display (BH/FF10/Portraits African)

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1872

  • Acquisition notes

    Daniell bid for the British Museum at the Morgan sale, but much of what was bought from him was selections from lots rather than entire lots. So Morgan is entered as previous owner rather than vendor.

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number

    1872,0713.141

Whole-length portrait of Saartjie Baartman, naked but for decorations such as beads, fringes, a patterned cap, shoes and a sheepskin mantle over her right shoulder; directed to left and with head in profile to left, but turning away to be seen partly from behind, wearing face-paint and smoking a pipe, holding a long pole in her outstretched left hand.  1810 Aquatint with etching, printed in brown ink

Recto

Whole-length portrait of Saartjie Baartman, naked but for decorations such as beads, fringes, a patterned cap, shoes and a sheepskin mantle over her right shoulder; directed to left and with head in profile to left, but turning away to be seen partly from behind, wearing face-paint and smoking a pipe, holding a long pole in her outstretched left hand. 1810 Aquatint with etching, printed in brown ink

Image description

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Object reference number: PPA143227

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