A Good Likeness of Sancho, a Negro

Unidentified Artist1807

Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery

Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery
Washington, D.C., United States

This unusually precise image of Sancho was created less for sentimentality than for cataloguing property. The accompanying text describes him as “about five feet high, very black complexion, good teeth, not corpulent, but well-formed,” and “a fast walker,” and also notes that he had been trained as a barber. With particular irony, the advertisement states that if Sancho voluntarily returns to the service of his master, he shall be received with “kindness,” while anyone found to be harboring him will be punished. Sancho probably lived on Winthrop Sargent’s plantation near Natchez, Mississippi. The governor of the Mississippi Territory, Sargent resided on part of an eleven-thousand-acre plantation that at one time held over three hundred enslaved people.


  • Title: A Good Likeness of Sancho, a Negro
  • Creator: Unidentified Artist
  • Date Created: 1807
  • Physical Dimensions: w3 x h6 cm (Image)
  • Type: Woodcut on handmade paper
  • Rights: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
  • External Link: https://npg.si.edu/portraits
  • Classification: Print

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