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Anti-Slavery Medallion

 Single Item
JL 1001

  • Request

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.


  • Creation: c.1787


1 box

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries, JL 1001.

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JL 1001

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.

Related Materials

Archive of the Anti-Slavery Society, MSS. Brit. Emp. s. 16-25. Fob seal bearing the emblem of the anti-slavery campaign, JL 997.


  • 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
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom