This book presents the lives of two black servants at the court of stadholder William V. Sideron arrived from Curaçao in 1763 at the age of seven, Cupido, who was slightly younger followed three years later from the African West coast. Why they came remains unclear. Most likely they were gifts, a relatively common practice at the European courts of the eighteenth century as Esther Schreuder describes in this informative and highly recommended book. Schreuder explains how the two children lovingly and respectfully grow up to have successful careers as servants of William V of Orange-Nassau and Wilhelmina of Prussia with whom their fate was closely intertwined. Schreuder never strays far from the sources she found in the Dutch Royal archives. However, by carefully contextualizing these documents with information about the legal status of blacks in the Netherlands, life at court, political and overseas history she is able to sketch an amazingly complete picture of the exceptional lives of Cupido and Sideron. Cupido married a German girl in 1802, Schreuder has found that his descendants live in The Hague to this day.
From the editors