Who resisted and campaigned for abolition?

The Slave

Published by Orlando Hodgson, London, 1820

Object number PHM RH1
Given as part of the Communist Party of Great Britain Picture Collection, 1997

See this object at the People's History Museum This object may not always be on display. Please check with the venue before visiting.

The Slave

Although the British slave trade was officially abolished in 1807, it was not until the 1833 Abolition of Slavery Act, which granted emancipation in the British colonies, that all enslaved people were ‘set free’. This image of a chained and kneeling African man, entitled simply ‘The Slave’, is thought to be a reference to the continuation of slavery in non-British territories. It was published by Orlando Hodgson in 1820.

The pleading supplicant slave had become an enduring image during the late 1700s, reproduced and distributed through literature and decorative objects, including ceramic medallions produced by Josiah Wedgwood, himself a prominent abolitionist. Whilst it was intended perhaps to shame those who were involved in the slave trade, it also had the negative effect of representing the enslaved man as essentially passive. In fact, enslaved people repeatedly resisted oppression with courage, ingenuity and determination.

This information was provided by curators from the People's History Museum.