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Princess Caraboo

Photo credit: Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives

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Princess Caraboo of Javasu was an imposter who both captivated and fooled Bristol and Bath society for 10 weeks in 1817. She spoke an unknown language, actually gibberish, and indicated by signs that she was a person of rank from the East Indies (modern Indonesia) who had been captured by pirates. Her fanciful clothes are just as she described them to the family with whom she stayed. Before her final sitting with Edward Bird for this portrait she was exposed as the eccentric daughter of a Devonshire cobbler.

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery





oil on panel


H 38.1 x W 30.5 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

civic painting, transferred, 1972

Work type



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Normally on display at

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

Queens Road, Bristol, Bristol BS8 1RL England

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