- Original art ink draw
- Ink over paper
- 8,3 x 11,7 inchs
James Keziah Delaney was born in 1787 to Horace and Anna Delaney. At the age of eleven, in the year 1798, three years after his mother’s death, James was put in as a cadet at the East India Company Military Seminary in Woolwich by Horace Delaney and his new bride. After an initial brilliant career as a cadet in Sir Stuart Strange‘s regiment, during which he excelled in all disciplines, in 1800 he began his insubordination towards the officers. According to Benjamin Wilton‘s researchers, James “set ablaze of a Navy boat in an experiment with oil and mashed potatoes while drunk. And a fight with a bear in Chancery Lane, a rebellion against the cooks for bad custard, started by him, and he raved about fortunes and hidden treasures. He tried to recruit other boys to go down the river to India, to trade with Red Indians, to take gold from the Aztecs. Finally, in the year of our Lord 1802, he took himself off to Africa”  John Pettifer added further details during an East India Company conversation, revealing that “According to charter records, he went to Cabinda aboard a ship called Cornwallis, then boarded a ship called the Influence, bound for Antigua. It was a slave ship. It sank off the Gold Coast, and it was assumed Delaney was dead.” 
When he started trading in Africa, he became a prisoner and later accustomed to some indigenous practices and presumably during this time he received the Sankofa’s mark on his back. It was during this period that rumours began to circulate about barbaric and cruel behaviours surrounding his persona. During his initial training at the military academy and before setting sail for Africa, James began a love affair with his half-sister, Zilpha.