The image of "Liberty Given to the Slaves" is based on an 1852 illustration for Uncle Tom’s Cabin by British artist George Cruikshank (1792-1878) - an example of the print is in the British Museum's collection (acc. no. 1978,U.3171). The many figures of the original print source have been removed on the porcelain cup, but the image is almost identical -- down to the hats hanging on the wall and the striped pants on one of the men. Known in its day as a “Tomitude”, this cup was part of the merchandise associated with Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Published in 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel, struck a profound emotional chord with its readers, becoming the bestselling book of the 19th century after the Bible. “Tomitudes” were objects that transformed the drama of the novel into goods that could incorporated into the reader’s daily life. White porcelain cup with beaker shape, undercut, footed base, flaring sides, and a strap handle. Decorated with a print of two enslaved African men, possibly receiving manumission papers, from an enslaver along with caption that reads, "LIBERTY given to the SLAVES." Black enamel painted on rim.
slavery; enslaved persons; antislavery movements
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