Figure of a Kneeling Slave

Contributed by Brighton Museum and Art Gallery

Pearlware figure of a kneeling slave, made in Staffordshire. © Brighton & Hove

These figures were made to coincide with the freeing of slaves in British colonies in 1834Although the British Parliament abolished the Transatlantic Slave Trade in 1807, the slaves in British colonies were not freed until 1834. This kneeling figure of a black slave, with broken chains and manacles lying beside him, supports an open book on his raised knee. The book is inscribed with the words "Bless God/ Thank Britton/Me No Slave". The figure was adapted from the famous Wedgwood relief medallion, designed by John Hackwood, that was used as a logo around 1800 by the Slave Emancipation Society. Some 30 years later this former slave is shown released from bondage in the Caribbean, paying tribute to those who helped to free him. It is an eloquent piece of propaganda.

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