William Ansah Sessarakoo(active 1744-1749), African prince; son of John Bannishee Corrantee Chinnee of Annamaboe
Sitter in 3 portraits
Sessarakoo was sent on a grand tour of Europe by his father but was betrayed by the Captain of the ship when he was instead sold into slavery in Barbados. When his father, a wealthy gold and slave-trader, learned of this betrayal he refused to continue trading with any English merchants. The Royal African Company intervened, promising to find Sessarakoo, release him from slavery and to arrange safe passage home for him via London in exchange for trade to continue. In London, Sessarakoo and his African companion who he journeyed with were entrusted to the president of the Board of Trade and Plantations, George Montagu Dunk. A London journal published an article entitled ‘A Young African Prince, Sold for a Slave’, which romanticised Sessarakoo’s heritage and gave him celebrity status. Sessarakoo was amongst a handful of black foreign visitors to London in the eighteenth century who were welcomed into London drawing rooms because of the intriguing stories they bought with them.
published by Gentleman's Magazine, after William Hoare, and after Gabriel Mathias
line engraving, published June 1750