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Portrait of Mary Sabina, unsigned, 18th century

Mystery surrounds the story of Mary Sabina and her portrait. The latter tells us she was born in 1736 at a Jesuit plantation called Mantua, in the city of Cartagena in South America. Like George Alexander, she was the child of black African slaves, and was probably also affected by piebaldism.

Mary Sabina does not appear to have been brought to Europe, but images of her were circulated widely - a kind of substitute exhibit. Including this portrait, there were at least three paintings of Mary. This version was presented to College in the 1880s.

From the collection of the Hunterian Museum RCSSC/P 256

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