Typical Inhabitants of the Province of Medellín
This watercolor by Henry Price (1819–63) portrays five people of the province of Medellín (present-day Antioquia Department), Colombia. The dress and facial characteristics of the individuals shown are intended to represent the main ethnic and racial groups among the inhabitants of the province, which included people of indigenous, Spanish colonial, mestizo, and Afro-Colombian origin. Price was a British painter and musician who was one of the draftsmen of the Comisión Corográfica (Chorographic Commission), a body tasked with studying the geography, natural resources, natural history, regional culture, and agriculture of the Republic of New Granada (present-day Colombia and Panama). He was born in London but moved to New York with his family as an adolescent. In 1843 he married Eliza Castello Brandon, daughter of David Castello Montefiori (1790–1882). Price and Castello probably met in New York, where Castello, also originally from London, had transferred his commercial activities from Kingston, Jamaica. Henry and Eliza Price settled in Bogotá, where he initially worked as a bookkeeper for Castello. With the foundation of the Sociedad Filarmónica, an influential institution in Bogotá society, he was able to make important social connections that led to a teaching post at the Colegio del Espíritu Santo. It was there that he met some future members of the Comisión Corográfica, including Venezuelan painter Carmelo Fernández (1809–87), botanist José Jerónimo Triana (1828–90), and the lawyer and statesman Santiago Pérez Manosalbas (1830–1900). Price was hired for the third expedition, in 1852, to the provinces of Mariquita, Medellín, Córdova, Antioquia, and Cauca, under the direction of Agustín Codazzi (1793–1859). Many of Price’s watercolors and drawings from 1852–55 depict Colombia’s landscapes, the people and their customs, and artifacts. These works are now held at the National Library of Colombia (Colección Comisión Corográfica).
Title in Original Language
Tipos de la provincia: Provincia de Medellín
Type of Item
Watercolor on paper ; 21 x 29 centimeters
Last updated: February 12, 2016