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"Ellis, Field hand"

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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George Fuller (1822-1884), of Deerfield, Massachusetts, journeyed through the Deep South three times in the 1850s. An artist, Fuller hoped to make money as an itinerant portrait painter. An economic depression in 1857 resulted in slow business for Fuller; he reported to his half brother Augustus in 1858 that "The 'hard times' have made people in Alabama afraid to expend much money in pictures." Fewer portrait commissions allowed Fuller time to begin planning a series of paintings depicting Southern blacks. Fuller was well situated to study what he referred to as "negro character and his relations". Slaves outnumbered whites in Montgomery County, Alabama by a ratio of two to one. Fuller kept his antislavery views to himself while in the South, noting that "People here are very sensitive on home questions." This drawing, labeled "Ellis, Field Hand," was one of about thirty sketches Fuller drew of black slaves and plantation life.


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