Voyage a Surinam. P.J. Benoit. Bruxelles: Societe des Beaux-Arts (de Wasme et Laurent), 1839.
Benoit was born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1782. He was trained as a jeweller but he was much more interested in travelling and drawing. On young age he travelled to Italy, Bavaria, Switzerland, Austria, Pruisen, Helgoland and France. Later he visited the Dutch East Indies and in 1830 he ended up in Suriname. Benoits ‘ Voyage a Surinam’ is the most impressive 19th century book on Suriname. Not only because of its format but especially because of splendid litho’ s Madou and Lauters made on the basis of the drawings of Benoit. In 50 plates (100 litho’ s) he gives us a picture of the population of Surinam, the religions, plantations, the slave society, the rites and rituals of Amerindians. We also get an idea of the city Paramaribo, celebrations of the slaves (du’ s), burial rituals, other customs and architecture.
The book contains 49 litho’ s (together one hundred pictures) which show us the Suriname of the early 19th century. Normally the plates were issued in black and white. This copy is contemporary handcoloured. Not many handcoloured copies are known.