William Tate, a well-known portrait-painter, was born and worked in Liverpool, a port with which Lancastrian merchants like Mr Dodshon Foster had strong connections.

This half-length portrait depicts the sitter in a brown coat with orange waistcoat seated in a tropical landscape with his dog at his side. A prominent Quaker merchant ship owner, Foster, like other local wholesalers and traders, became involved in the profitable transatlantic slave trade. Ships laden with cargo were sent out from Lancaster to the African Coast to trade for slaves and local produce. The background of the painting suggests that, as an interested businessman and investor, Mr Foster had been on such a voyage. Lancaster's greatest prosperity was based heavily on the commercial maritime wealth of which the slave trade was an important element.


Humphrey Townley; Charles Aindon.

Back to top