Thursday, 11 September 2014

Saving Wedgwood 3. "Am I not a Man and a Brother?"

"Fashion, which usually confines itself to worthless things, was seen for once in the honourable office of promoting the cause of justice, humanity and freedom."      Thomas Clarkson

"Am I not a Man and a Brother?"  from Thomas Day's poem The Dying Negro,  was used on these Wedgwood medallions  issued in support of the Society for the Suppression of the Slave Trade.

Emancipation Badge,  jasper ware, c.1787, originally modelled by Willam Hackwood as the Society seal,  from a design by Henry Webber.
© Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Wedgwood was an active supporter of the anti-slavery campaign and sent a batch of his medallions to Benjamin Franklin in America to spread the word.

[Black African slaves were a fashionable addition to one's household in the 18th century; notice the black pageboy in the tea party image in the previous blog.]

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