Sarah Island, circa 1832

Sarah Island, bordered by tumultuous sea and dense rain forest, was prison for the worst offenders from 1822 to 1833. William Buelow Gould (1801-1853), an itinerant convict with some skills with a paintbrush, was sent here for forgery. In 1832 he painted still lifes for Dr William de Little. So as ancient trees fell to fashion boats, and murderers, cannibals and schemers hammered nails into the hulls of ships, there also happened to be a bit of fine art and science taking place amidst the blood, violence, gore, disease, insanity, hate and famine.

Josh Foley


Oil on linen