Portrait of a Negro Slave (1786; Figure 1.1), painted by François Malépart de Beaucourt, is a rare, early oil painting of a black female slave. Its signifi - cance is multifold: (a) it represents an historic individual as opposed to an idealized type; (b) it is possibly the only preserved and almost undoubtedly the most thorough and professionally rendered representation of a black slave in Canada at this historical juncture; (c) it offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore the specifi c colonial context of slavery in eighteenthcentury North America (New France); and (d) it confi rms the visibility and legibility of the racialized body as the means of identifying a slave.