Michel-Jean Cazabon signed drawing of a scene in Trinidad – £13,000 at Gerrards.

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At the recent mixed-category auction on April 14-15 in Lytham St Annes, another work by the artist was on offer. This time it was drawing of a Trinidad scene showing two women carrying baskets on a plantation.

The 11 x 9in (28 x 23cm) signed sketch highlighted with chalk and scratching out on paper came from a private collection in the Lake District which included other works by Cazabon.

This picture represented a rare monochrome drawing by the artist to emerge at auction. While seemingly no examples have appeared in the saleroom before, at least a few can be found in the Yale Center of British Art (such as views of St James’ Barracks and the Garden Estate, Arouca, both in Trinidad).

Key visual reference

Cazabon’s pictures are considered a key visual reference for 19th century Trinidad, capturing many aspects of life on the island with his evocative images of the local scenery, merchant families and plantation workers and livestock.

The mixed-race son of immigrants from Martinique who owned a sugar plantation, Cazabon was schooled as an English gentleman at St Edmund’s College in Ware, and later attended art school in Paris.

On his return to Trinidad in 1852, George Harris, 3rd Baron Harris and governor of Trinidad from 1848-54, became a key patron and Cazabon’s works were reproduced in a series of plate books published the 1850s-60s which are credited with introducing Europeans to the West Indian topography and fauna.

The drawing at Gerrards had some intriguing details such as bows and foliage to the trees and animals by the roadside.

An attractive proposition against a £3000-5000 estimate, it drew both online and phone bidders and was sold to one of the latter at £13,000. It is now on its way back to Trinidad.