Cassy and Emmeline’s Story



From Railton's UTC site: "This sculpture by Hiram Powers was perhaps the most popular American work of art at mid-century. Over 100,000 people paid to see it during its 1847-48 tour around the country. Powers himself supplied this gloss on the statue's sensational subject—a woman on sale as a sexual object. More

From Alex Bontemps, "Seeing Slavery: How paintings make words look different." Common-Place: vol. 1 · no. 4 · July 2001

Virginian Luxuries. Courtesy of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center, Williamsburg, Va.

As if to mimic the tendency of most Americans, including the Founding Fathers, to say as little as possible about slavery, and either to deny or avoid discussing its brutality, the painting, Virginian Luxuries appears anonymously (undated and unsigned) on the back or unseen side of another painting.] This two-part picture is hidden on the back of another painting. Written in fairly large letters at the bottom of the painting is its title, Virginian Luxuries, suggesting the scene's location as well as a critical perspective on slavery.