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

African Hospitality

Mezzotint, printed in color, published state on medium, slightly textured, cream laid paper
Sheet: 22 1/4 x 29 1/4in. (56.5 x 74.3cm), Plate: 18 3/4 x 25 1/2in. (47.6 x 64.8cm), and Image: 18 1/4 x 25 3/8in. (46.4 x 64.5cm)

Lettered, below image, lower left: "Painted by G. Morland"; below image, lower center left: "Dauntless they plunge amidst the vengeful waves, | And snatch from death the lovely sinking fair_"; below image, lower center: "AFRICAN HOSPITALITY"; below: "London Publish'd Feby 1st 1791 by J.R. Smith King Street Covent Garden"; below image, lower center right: "Their friendly efforts lo! each Briton saves! | Perhaps their future Tyrants now they spare."; below image, lower right: "Engraved 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:
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
African | arrows | child | historical subject | mother | ocean | sea | ship | shipwreck | spear | storm
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IIIF Manifest:

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)

Figures of Empire : Slavery and Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Britain, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2014, p. 43, V 2556 (YCBA)

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