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First Portrait of Roma of Barbados: M.1-1945

An image of Head

Photograph copyright © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. © The estate of Sir Jacob Epstein. Tate. London.

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Object information


First Portrait of Roma of Barbados


Epstein, Jacob (Sculptor)


Bronze, cast. Roma is shown with her hair in bunches on either side of her head, her head tilted slightly upwards, her eyes raised.

Legal notes

Given by Mr J. Howard Bliss

Measurements and weight

Height: 35.5 cm

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1945) by Bliss, J. Howard


Second quarter of 20th century
George V
Production date: AD 1932


Epstein made several portraits of Black women in the 1920s and 1930s, including two of this sitter. Although Epstein calls her ‘Roma of Barbados’, Roma was born in West Ham, in 1905 to a Black Caribbean father and white mother. In the 1939 census, she described herself as a ‘film and stage artist’. In 1933, Epstein made a second portrait of Roma, which includes her upper torso. The proudly-held head and wide-eyed, slightly dreamy gaze imbue this first study with great dignity, serenity, and timelessness. The bust-length portrait of Roma made the following year is arguably less successful because the head is more generalised, and its impact is diluted by an unconvincing torso, which appears unfinished.

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Casting (process) : Bronze, cast

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.1-1945
Primary reference Number: 12400
External ID: CAM_CCF_M_1_1945
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 September 2021 Last processed: Wednesday 15 September 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2022) "First Portrait of Roma of Barbados" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-05-25 03:45:51

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