It is a rare treat to see such a beautifully painted head.
The Art Institute of Chicago has a landmark British painting: "The Captive Slave" (1827) by British portraitist John Philip Simpson. It has not been seen in public for 180 years.
Here is a detail.
This is the entire painting and it clearly displays Simpson's tremendous technical skills.
John Philip Simpson was known primarily as a portrait painter and was once a studio assistant to Sir Thomas Lawrence. In 1827, Simpson took a great professional risk to create a work that expressed his deeply held anti-slavery beliefs.
X-ray photography revealed that Simpson composed "The Captive Slave" on a used canvas, which had been previously painted.
The fact that he painted it on a discarded canvas suggests that he made it on impulse, and of his own volition, rather than as a commissioned work.
Douglas Druick of The Art Institute of Chicago described Simpson's engagement with a politically incendiary topic and suggests that the painting was intended as a condemnation of contemporary slavery, and a personal declaration of support for the Abolition Movement.