"Humanity" Cast-Iron Tobacco Box

An English tobacco box bearing the kneeling captive iconography of the abolitionist movement, dating to the mid-19th Century. Height 4 x width 3.75 x depth 5.5 inches (10 x 9.5 x 14 cm.). Oxidation and pitting from age, handle is old but may not be original to the box, else fine.

Josiah Wedgewood (1730-1795), a dedicated abolitionist and close friend of Thomas Clarkson designed the "logo" of the kneeling captive for the Society for the Abolition of Slavery in 1787. This was taken up by the American abolitionists, and in 1835 Patrick Reason, a young black engraver created a version of a kneeling woman that bore the caption "Am I not a Woman and a Sister?" This image, together with that of the infamous slave ship's hold, are without question the most iconic of the anti-slavery movement on both sides of the Atlantic. (18379)

History & Historiography