A Stormy Sea
The storm of commodities swirling in the Atlantic defined the material culture of early America―the very things Henry Francis du Pont and Winterthur collected. The Atlantic trade involved a wide variety of raw materials and refined goods, but slavery was its engine.
Captive Africans and the products of their forced labor flowed into ports like those named on the double cabinet, making possible the luxury and beauty enjoyed by consumers in the past as well as visitors to the museum today. Through ports came sweet sugar and bitter suffering, beautiful mahogany and hideous brutality, gleaming gold and dark dehumanization.
Look for the blue “Commerce” button throughout for objects interpreted through this theme.
Banner image: Newyork, New York, New York; c. 1790-1809; ink, graphite, watercolor, paper (laid); Bequest of Henry Francis du Pont, 1957.1147 A