Saartjie Baartman (Biographical details)

Saartjie Baartman (South African; Female; 1789 - 1815)

Also known as

Baartman, Saartjie; Baartman, Sara; Baartman, Sarah; Hottentot Venus; Bartmann, Sarah (baptised as such in 1811); Sartje


A Khoikhoi woman from South Africa; the so-called 'Hottentot Venus' was brought to Europe in 1810 and exhibited in Britain and France where she died of smallpox at the end of 1815. A cast was made of her body after her death and her skeleton and organs were preserved by the anatomist Georges Cuvier; her remains were returned to Sourth Africa in 2002. She is portrayed in several prints held by the Museum, notably satires which can be traced in George's 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires...' (BMSat index, s.v. Sartje) and in De Vinck.


R. D. Altick, The Shows of London, 1978, pp.268-72
P. R. Kirby, 'The Hottentot Venus,' Africana Notes and News 6/3 (June 1949), pp.55-62
C. Crais and P. Scully, 'Sara Baartman and the Hottentot Venus. A Ghost Story and a Biography', Princeton, 2009
Z. S. Strother, ‘Display of the Body Hottentot’ in Bernth Lindfors (ed.), 'Africans on Stage', Bloomington, 1999
A.E. Wright, 'The Hottentot Venus: An alternative iconography', The British Art Journal, XIV, 2013, pp. 59-70