Michel Jean Cazabon, Then and Now

Marine Square from the West, Michel Jean Cazabon, c.1850. Collection J. Bryan Tonkinson

 
Cazabon's Biography
Text and photos of paintings courtesy Geoffrey MacLean

Michel Jean Cazabon was born on September 20th, 1813 on Corynth Estate in North Naparima near San Fernando, Trinidad. He was the youngest of four children of François and Rose Debonne Cazabon. Cazabon's father, François, had emigrated from Martinique about 1795 and was a member of the San Fernando free coloured community. Educated at St. Edmund's College in Ware, England, Cazabon went on to study art in France, returning to Trinidad to live in 1848 until his death in 1888. His images have given us an excellent record of the landscape, people and architecture of Trinidad from the nineteenth century.

Perhaps the most complete collection of his paintings can be seen at Belmont House in Faversham, Kent, England, the home of the Harris family until the death of George Robert John, 6th Lord Harris in 1995, and now under the Harris (Belmont) Trust. 

 

Greyfriars Church from Knox Street, Port of Spain, Trinidad (Demolished in May 2015), Michel Jean Cazabon

 

Maraval Valley, Trinidad. Michel Jean Cazabon

 

Landscape with Bridge (Maraval Bridge). Michel Jean Cazabon

 

Detail Grand Trinidad Races, 5th January, 1853, Maiden Stake. Lithograph after Michel Jean Cazabon

 

St. Clair Estate, Port of Spain. Michel Jean Cazabon

 

Trinity Church, Port of Spain, Trinidad. Michel Jean Cazabon

 

King's Wharf and South Quay, Port of Spain. Lithograph after Cazabon. Plate No.2, Views of Trinidad, 1851

 

Fisherman and Boy, Corbeaux Town. Michel Jean Cazabon

 

Avenue and Entrance to St. James Barracks. Lithograph after Cazabon. Plate No. 15, Album of Trinidad, 1857