Stairwell Room: Revolutionary Annapolis Wall

Charles Calvert and Slave

Artist: John Hesselius (1728-1778), 1761
Medium: Oil on canvas
The Baltimore Museum of Art: Gift of Alfred R. and Henry G. Riggs, in Memory of General Lawrason Riggs

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Was Slavery Debated in the 18th Century?

This painting shows Charles Calvert, 5th Lord Baltimore, at the age of five with one of his family’s slaves. While both are ornately dressed, their identities as master and slave are clearly indicated in the composition of the painting.

Although the institution of slavery was well-established in 18th-century Maryland, the expansion of rights and freedom for African slaves was also a subject of great debate in the years following the American Revolution. Antislavery supporters, both evangelical and secular, brought the question of slavery to the floor of the state legislature many times throughout the 1780s and 1790s.

John Hesselius painted many portraits of the colonial elite in the Chesapeake region, and was Charles Willson Peale’s first instructor.



KEy Images on the

Samuel Chase
Burning of the Peggy Stewart
Plan of the Harbour and City of Annapolis
The Honorable Thomas Stone
A Front View of the State House...
Charles Carroll of Carrollton

William Paca

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Charles Calvert and Slave

The Fatal Stamp

Key Documents on the Wall

The Deputy Commissary's Guide...

Exhibits in the Stairwell Room

John Shaw # 1 Des