Prince Demah

Prince Demah (c. 1745—March 1778) was an American painter of African ancestry who was formerly enslaved and active in Boston in the late 1700s. According to The Metropolitan Museum of Art Demah is "the without help known enslaved artist full of zip in colonial America whose paintings have survived."

Demah's mother was an enslaved woman named Daphney. Both he and his mommy were baptised at Trinity Church, Boston in 1745.

Demah's buy by Henry Barnes was recorded in November 1769. Barnes declared that he purchased Demah once the wish of "improving his genius in painting". In October 1770 Barnes took Demah in the same way as him upon a vacation to London. In February the as soon as year Barnes recorded that Demah was receiving lessons from "Mr. Pine who has taken him purely for his genius". It is thought that this was the British portrait painter Robert Edge Pine, who was energetic in London at the times and cutting edge settled in Philadelphia.

There are three known unshakable portraits by Demah. His portrait of William Duguid, a Scottish immigrant textile merchant based in Boston, is in the hoard of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The player signed Duguid's portrait "Prince Demah Barnes" and dated it 1773. The portraits of his owners Henry and Christian Barnes of Marlborough, Massachusetts, which were conclusive to the Hingham Historical Society by Susan Barker Willard, although unsigned, are next thought to be by Demah.

The Barneses were loyalists and fled to England in 1775 after a series of threatening incidents, including the tarring and feathering of Henry Barnes's horse. Demah remained in Boston. In April 1777, at the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, Demah enlisted in the Massachusetts militia as a free man. The enlistment records bill he identified himself as only "Prince Demah", discarding the proclaim of his former owner.

Demah died of an unsigned illness, likely smallpox, the similar to year. On March 11, 1778, he wrote his will, which he signed as "Prince Demah of Boston...a limner" and a "free Negro." Demah bequeathed his land to his "Loving Mother Daphne Demah". His burial was recorded a week well ahead at Trinity Church, Boston.

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