Press molded circular plate, the rim features molded floral and foliate decoration painted in red, green, yellow, and blue overglaze enamels, a scalloped rim edge, the well of the plate decorated with transfer printed decoration in red enamel of an African man in a skirt being taken into bondage by two white men (who are dressed in sailor uniforms, one with a pistol and the other with a whip), his man's wife? grabs her husband? in distress, printed above and below the scene in red enamel are verses from William Cowper's (1731-1800) 1788 poem, "The Negro's Complaint." The verses read, "Forced from home and all its pleasures, / Afric's coast I left forlorne; / To increase a strangers treasures, / O'er the raging billows borne." and "Fleecy locks and black complexion / cannot forfit natur's claim; / skins may differ but affection / Dwels in white and black the same." There is a strong bluish tint to the lead glaze. Condition: Very minute chips and glaze losses to the rim of the plate.
Criticisms levelled against England’s participation in the slave trade grew louder by the late 18th century, and were expressed on a variety of media, including ceramics. The child’s plate, with its brightly painted molded rim, illustrates what appears to be the capture of two Africans in their native homeland. The plate contains verses from William Cowper's (1731-1800) 1788 poem, "The Negro's Complaint," which serve to further emphasize the sufferings of the enslaved, as well as the unjust system of slavery as a whole.
slavery; enslaved persons
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