A ceramic paste cameo medallion (oval; c. 2.5 cm x 3 cm), modelled by William Hackwood to a design by Henry Webber, with a chained, kneeling man in relief (black on white) and the words ‘Am I not a man and a brother’ around the upper edge, contained in a contemporary or early oval wooden gilt frame.
Language of Materials
Oxford, Bodleian Libraries, JL 1001.
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Collection ID (for staff)
CMD ID 18755
Medallion bearing the emblem of the anti-slavery campaign.
Biographical / Historical
Josiah Wedgwood was a founder member of the Committee [later Society] for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, established by Thomas Clarkson in 1787. At his Staffordshire factory Wedgwood produced ceramic medallions based on the Committee's seal and bore the costs of producing and distributing thousands of them. They developed into a fashion item among supporters of abolition, who had them inlaid in snuffboxes, bracelets and brooches, and the image of the kneeling slave became the emblem of the British anti-slavery campaign. Thomas Clarkson credited the medallions with engaging the interest of the general population in the cause of enslaved Africans and promoting justice and humanity.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Purchased by the Bodleian Library from Bernard Quaritch Limited in 2020.
- Guyatt, M., ‘The Wedgwood Slave Medallion’, Journal of Design History, 13:2 (2000)
- Catalogue of an Anti-Slavery Medallion
- Finding aid prepared by Lucy McCann
- Language of description