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Creator:
Print made by John Raphael Smith, 1752–1812, British
after George Morland, 1763–1804, British
Title:

The Slave Trade

Date:
1791
Medium:
Mezzotint, printed in color, published state on medium, slightly textured, cream laid paper
Dimensions:
22 × 29 1/2 inches (55.9 × 74.9 cm), 18 3/4 × 25 1/2 inches (47.6 × 64.8 cm), and 18 1/4 × 25 3/8 inches (46.4 × 64.5 cm)
Inscription(s)/Marks/Lettering:

Lettered, below image, lower left: "Painted by G Morland" ; below image, lower center left : "Lo' the poor Captive with distraction wild | Views his dear Partner torn from his embrace!"; below image, center: "SLAVE TRADE"; below: "London Publish'd Feb. 1 1791 by J.R. Smith. King Street, Covent Garden'; below image, lower center right: "A diffient Captain buys his Wife and Child_ | What time can from his Soul such ills erase?"; below image, lower right: "Engrav'd by J.R. Smith, Mezzotinto Engraver, to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
B1978.43.283
Classification:
Prints
Collection:
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
clouds | dog (animal) | enslaved people | families | genre subject | slavery | storm
Access:
View by request in the Study Room [Request]
Note: The Study Room is open by appointment. Please visit the Study Room page on our website for more details.
Link:
https://collections.britishart.yale.edu/catalog/tms:41947
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John Raphael Smith published this pair (B19878.43.283 and B19878.43.284) of abolitionist engravings in February 1791, at the height of abolitionist fervor in Britain. Engraved after paintings by George Morland, the prints juxtapose a scene of European brutality with one of African benevolence. In the Slave Trade, an African family is torn asunder by white traders who forcibly separate a father from his wife and child. In African Hospitality, by contrast, a group of compassionate Africans rescue and care for a shipwrecked white family and other members of their crew. (Both narratives are elaborated in the verses inscribed underneath each image.)
Like Bigg’s A Lady and her Children Relieving a Cottager, which was also published by Smith, Slave Trade and African Hospitality bear the influence of the eighteenth-century "cult of sensibility." Sensibility placed particular emphasis on the emotions, especially sympathy, as a guide to moral action. By highlighting the capacity of Africans to "feel . . . as Europeans would do," Morland’s compositions argued in forceful—albeit also highly Eurocentric—terms against the moral wrong of slavery.

Gallery label for Figures of Empire: Slavery and Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Britain (Yale Center for British Art, 2014-10-02 - 2014-12-14)

Caribbean - Crossroads of the World (Perez Art Museum Miami, - ) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Figures of Empire: Slavery and Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Britain (Yale Center for British Art, 2014-10-02 - 2014-12-14) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Caribbean - Crossroads of the World (El Museo del Barrio, 2012-06-12 - 2013-01-06) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and his Worlds (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-09-27 - 2007-12-30) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

The Romantic Print in Britain - Yale Center for British Art (Carnegie Museum of Art, 2004-02-14 - 2004-05-09) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

The Romantic Print in the Age of Revolutions: Hero, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History (Yale Center for British Art, 2003-01-23 - 2003-06-01) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Figures of Empire: Slavery and Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Britain, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2014, p. 42, V 2556 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Slavery and Portraiture in 18th-century Atlantic Britain, [Website] , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2015, Available online https://interactive.britishart.yale.edu/slavery-and-portraiture/ [Website]

David H. Solkin, Art in Britain 1660-1815, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2015, pp. 244-45, fig. 250, N6766 S65 2015 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]


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