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The Glassford family

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The Glassford family

A portrait of John Glassford and his family by Archibald McLauchlan, c 1767.

John Glassford was a wealthy Glaswegian tobacco merchant. At the time this portrait was painted he was living in the Shawfield Mansion just off the Trongate in what is now Glassford Street. His wealth is demonstrated by the opulence of the house (for example the rich carpet underfoot) and by the sheer size (1.98 x 2.21 metres) and magnificence of the oil painting itself.

There was another indicator of Glassford's great wealth and status in the painting, which depicted a black manservant standing on the left behind Glassford. The employment of black pages and servants was very fashionable among rich Glaswegians, brought over from the slave-worked plantations of the American colonies and the West Indies. However, the servant was subsequently painted out, perhaps due to anti-slavery sentiment in the 19th century.

Reference: 2887

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums

anti-slavery movement, boys, carpets, children, dogs, drawing rooms, families, fashions, furnishings, girls, mansions, musical instruments, oil paintings, portraits, servants, Shawfield Mansion, slavery, slaves, Tobacco Lords, tobacco merchants, women

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