This image is from a sketchbook of watercolours depicting places visited by Francis Meynell while on a Royal Navy anti-slavery patrol off the west coast of Africa and includes several ship portraits. This is one of two watercolours, the other being MEY/2.1, which show slaves above and below deck. They were painted on board the ‘Albanoz’, a captured Spanish slave ship in 1846, so the people shown had in fact been liberated though not yet landed and released. They nevertheless provide a rare eyewitness view of conditions in the hold of a slave ship. Those shown are not chained - and there are no signs of chains- but rather imprisoned in a confined space. During the Middle Passage, the enslaved were usually not kept constantly below deck, unless the weather was particularly bad or there was a serious threat of revolt on board. In order that as many Africans should reach the Americas with some of their health intact, they were allowed out of the fetid holds and to exercise on deck.