History: Anne Cormac was born in 1698 in County Cork, Ireland from a relationship that her father, a lawyer, had with a servant. When the affair became public, the lawyer decided to migrate to South Carolina.
From this moment on Anne’s life unfolds between legend and reality. It is said that when she was only 13 she stabbed a servant girl in the stomach for trivial motives. When a fire started on her father’s property, Anne was blamed for it, although there is no evidence to support the accusation. When she was disowned by the lawyer, Anne abandoned the family and married a young pirate by the name of James Bonny and became Anne Bonny. Since the Bahamas were the hub and base for pirate operations, around 1714-1718 Anne and James moved to Nassau on New Providence Island, where James Bonny became an informant for the Governor. While in New Providence, Anne abandoned her husband as she was having an affair with the pirate John Rackman, known as Calico Jack, who was enjoying the King’s pardon. James dragged Anne before the Governor to demand she be tried for adultery and returned to him. But Anne escaped with Calico Jack and both decided to live as pirates. Since it was believed that having a woman on board would bring bad luck for the crew, normally while on board ship and in contact with the crew, Anne Bonny dressed as a man and took the name of Adam Bonny. In October 1720, in Jamaica, Rackman and his crew were captured, imprisoned and hanged after a brief trial. The sentence for Anne Bonny was suspended because she revealed herself as a woman and was expecting a baby.
There is no historical record of Anne’s release or of her execution. However, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography states that “Evidence provided by the descendants of Anne Bonny suggests that her father managed to secure her release from jail and bring her back to Charles town in Carolina, where she gave birth to Rackman’s second child. In 1721 she married a local man and they had eight children. She died a respectable woman on 25th April 1782 in South Carolina.”
Painting instructions: Pirates did not have to respect a dress code since they did not wear uniforms, therefore the artist is free to use his/her imagination, except for those parts made out of leather or metal.
Sculptor: Maurizio Bruno
Painter: Danilo Cartacci
Text and translation: Riccardo Carrabino