Africa and the transatlantic slave trade

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Slave Trade, 1791, The Whitworth Art Gallery, The University of Manchester

See this object at The Whitworth Art Gallery, The University of Manchester

This item may not always be on display, please check with the venue before visiting

George Morland was an English artist who did two paintings known as ‘Slave Trade' and ‘African Hospitality'. He was inspired by a friend’s poem to paint images of slavery. The movement to end slavery started in Britain in the 1790s.

This print was a reproduction of Morland’s painting made to help raise awareness of slavery and the need for abolition. It was published in Paris in 1794, at the height of the French Revolution. The French abolished slavery in 1794 as part of the fight for equality, but Napoleon reintroduced slavery in 1802 and it was not abolished in French colonies until 1848.

This painting was made as a piece of propaganda. It is not based on actual events, but represents a dramatisation of selling enslaved Africans. European slave traders capture an African man, and a woman is led to a boat where there is a person weeping. The African trader under the tree, negotiating with the slave ship’s captain, looks on.

The dog used to keep enslaved Africans under control is in contrast to the chained people. The animal has more freedom than the African men, women and children who were traded as goods.

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An interactive video drama on slavery and abolition

This Accursed Thing

African Slave Trader