The Virginia Horse
Original Author: Lewis Miller
Created: ca. 1856
Medium: Watercolor and ink on paper
Publisher: Virginia Historical Society

The Virginia Horse

Two African Americans tend a Virginia racehorse in this mid-nineteenth-century watercolor sketch by Lewis Miller. Below the drawing, the artist—a Pennsylvania native who traveled extensively in Virginia and eventually settled there—wrote an upbeat observation about the condition of slaves. In his words "they were a contented and happy race" who were fed, clothed, given medical attention and even "a whole holiday on Saturday to be permitted to Sell their produce in the markets." In addition, Miller had words of praise for Virginia as a breeding place for horses: "In thee Alone, fair land of virginia, is bred the perfect horse, in Speed as yet unrivalled; while in other climes their virtue fails."