The boy in this portrait is said to have crossed the Atlantic to Liverpool as a stowaway, and was discovered by the Liverpool Pre-Raphaelite artist William Windus on the doorstep of the Monument Hotel. He was apparently reunited with his parents after a relative saw the portrait in the window of a frame-maker's shop, although it is not certain if this touching anecdote is true or not.


  • Title: The Black Boy
  • Creator: William Lindsay Windus
  • Date Created: 1844
  • tag / style: William Windus; Liverpool Pre-Raphaelite; Pre-Raphaelite; portraiture; black; boy; stowaway; seated; shadows
  • Physical Dimensions: w635 x h761 cm (Without frame)
  • Artwork History: The picture was said to have been painted in around 1844 for the godfather of William Windus of Clifton. It subsequently passed to William Windus of Waterloo, and was presented by him to the Walker Art Gallery.
  • Artist biographical information: One of the outstanding figures of the 19th-century Liverpool School, Windus was a gifted painter of historical subjects. His first art master was William Daniels (1813-1880) and Windus’s earlier work is in a deeply shadowed style. In 1850, at the suggestion of the Liverpool collector John Miller, Windus visited London and saw the Pre-Raphaelite paintings at the Royal Academy. He began painting in a Pre-Raphaelite manner. Although he was initially praised by John Ruskin, Ruskin’s later criticism, together with personal misfortune, caused Windus virtually to abandon painting after about 1860. To learn more about the Walker Art Gallery’s Liverpool Pre-Raphaelites, please follow this link: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/online/pre-raphaelites/liverpool_academy.aspx
  • Additional artwork information: The figure has been cut down from a larger composition at about the time of the acquisition. To learn more about this painting, please follow this link: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/collections/19c/windus.aspx
  • Type: Oil on canvas
  • Rights: Presented by William Windus in 1948

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