The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

Search the Collection

George Alexander Gratton

(1808-1813), Spotted boy

Sitter in 1 portrait
Born on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent, the son of African slaves. Like other slaves, he was likely to have been named after the sugar plantation's owner or overseer, a common practice at the time that identified slaves as the property of their owners. He suffered with a condition characterised by pigment loss in the skin, resulting in white patches, now known as Vitiligo. His owner, perhaps aware that culturally held superstitions could put the child at risk, saw an opportunity to profit from his condition. He was sold for 1000 guineas, shipped to Britain and consigned to the care of John Richardson who exhibited him in a circus for the paying public, billed as the 'Spotted Negro Boy'. Contradictory to this callous exploitation, childless Richardson had the boy baptised and treated him like a son. When Gratton died at a young age, Richardson held onto his body whilst a customised brick vault was constructed to bury him at All Saints Cemetery, Marlow. He requested on his deathbed in 1837 that he be buried in the same vault as Gratton.

Tell us More

 Like voting
is closed

Thanks for Liking

Please Like other favourites!
If they inspire you please support our work.

Make a donation Close

List Thumbnail

George Alexander Gratton, by P.R. Cooper, sold by and after  Daniel Orme - NPG D8254

George Alexander Gratton

by P.R. Cooper, sold by and after Daniel Orme
coloured etching and aquatint, published 11 November 1809
NPG D8254

Tell us more back to top

Can you tell us more about this person? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. You can buy a print of most illustrated portraits. Select the portrait of interest to you, then look out for a Buy a Print button. Prices start at £6 for unframed prints, £25 for framed prints. If you wish to license an image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.

Citationclose

How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.

Watch

Our channel

View a wide collection of video content on our YouTube channel from past projects to our latest films.

Sit back and watch

Artist and sitter interviews

Get insights into creating portraiture from BP Portrait Award 2020 artists and their sitters.

Explore behind the scenes

Sleeping Awake

Watch our film created to say ‘goodbye’ to the Gallery before we closed for our major transformation project.

Hear our story