St Christopher's, now known as St Kitts, was the most productive of the Leeward Islands during the eighteenth century, and was especially renowned for its high quality sugar.

Payne commissioned Hearne to commemorate his office with a series of twenty large watercolours including this one. The watercolours reflect the two ever present fears of the white West Indians: the threat of French seaborne attack from nearby Martinique or Guadeloupe and the prospect of insurrection among the expanding slave population. Painted against a background of growing disquiet about slavery, the watercolours provide fascinating insights into the social, cultural and military life of the West Indies at this period.


Sir Railph Payne, Captain General and Governor in Chief of the Leeward Islands (later the Rt Hon Lord Lavington); sold by his widow, Jaubert, London 5/7/1810, lot 4.

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