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'Plate to Commemorate the Abolition of the Slave Trade'

Fine art

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Object ID PAH7367
Description On the occasion of Parliament abolishing the slave trade in March 1807, this engraving was designed and dedicated to Prince William, Duke of Gloucester and is captioned ‘Britannia trampling on the emblems of slavery, holding a banner declaring the abolition and attending to the voice of justice and religion’. It draws on well-established artistic devices and symbols. It shows Britannia in the centre, with a lion holding a shield at her feet, and trampling smashed chains underfoot. To her right stands a personification of Justice, while in the background, on her left, is a bust of the abolitionist William Wilberforce bathed in heavenly light. While Britain’s role in abolishing the trade is celebrated, there is no reference to her involvement as one of the leading slave trading countries before 1807, or to the part that enslaved Africans played in breaking their own bonds.
Date made 4 June 1808

Artist/Maker Collyer, Josiah
Moses, Henry
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials hand coloured; etching
Measurements Sheet: 333 mm x 253 mm; Image: 267 mm x 224 mm; Frame: 603 mm x 450 mm; Mount: 555 mm x 405 mm
  • 'Plate to Commemorate the Abolition of the Slave Trade' (PAH7367)
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