Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 126–138 | Cite as

‘I am the only woman!’: the racial dimensions of patriarchy and the containment of white women in James Hakewill’s A Picturesque Tour of the Island of Jamaica... (1825)

  • Charmaine A. NelsonEmail author


White females were dramatically absent from Caribbean ‘high’ art of the early nineteenth century. This article explores James Hakewill’s visual representation of upper-class white women through the lens of Lady Maria Nugent and Eliza Chadwick Roberts’s early nineteenth-century Jamaican sojourns. Of the 21 prints in Hakewill’s A Picturesque Tour of the Island of Jamaica (1825), only two included white women. Although by far the smallest portion of the Jamaican population at the time, this white female disappearance was not simply connected to their demographic minority status. Rather, this article explores the selective absence and containment of white women as an ideological strategy, which erased their direct participation in plantation slavery and preserved their idealised reputations as refined purveyors of ‘polite’ society.


Creole cross-racial sex Jamaica James Hakewill mulattas plantation slavery whiteness 


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© Board of Transatlantic Studies 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Art History and Communication Studies DepartmentMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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