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Print made by W. Pyott, active late 18th century
after Carl Frederick van Breda, 1759–1818, Swedish
Published by W. Pyott, active late 18th century

The Benevolent Effects of Abolishing Slavery, or the Planter instructing his Negro

Mezzotint on medium, cream, slightly textured wove paper
Sheet: 19 1/4 x 14 3/4 inches (48.9 x 37.5 cm), Plate: 16 15/16 × 11 7/8 inches (43 × 30.2 cm), Image: 15 3/4 × 11 13/16 inches (40 × 30 cm), and Frame: 24 × 20 × 1 inches (61 × 50.8 × 2.5 cm)

Lettered below image, lower left: "Painted by Chas. Fred De Breda RA of Stockholm | and Painter to the King of Sweden"; below image, lower center: "The Benevolent EFFECTS of Abolishing Slavery | Or the PLANTER instructing his NEGRO." ; below: "Publish'd June 1792 by W. Pyott, N. 90, Great Titchfield Street Oxford Road"; below image, lower right: "Engraved by W Pyott"

Inscribed on verso in graphite, upper left: "P30725 | pu"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
book | emancipation | genre subject | hut | jewelry | map | men | palm trees | portrait | slave | slavery
Associated People:
Carl Bernhard Wadström (1746-1799), abolitionist
Panah, Peter, son of the king of Cape Mesurado (in present-day Liberia)
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IIIF Manifest:

W. Pyott’s print is based on a painting (now in the Nordic Museum, Sweden) by Carl Frederik von Breda, which was exhibited in 1789 at the Royal Academy in London with the title "Portrait of a Swedish Gentleman instructing a Negro Prince". Von Breda’s portrait depicts the Swedish abolitionist Carl Bernhard Wadström with Peter Panah, son of the king of Cape Mesurado (in present-day Liberia). Panah was kidnapped in Africa and taken to the West Indies and then to London, where Wadström purchased his freedom. Pyott’s print converts von Breda’s portrait into an abolitionist genre scene. Wadström is here transformed into a white planter, and Panah into a freed African laborer—who is nonetheless still defined in the print’s title as the planter’s possession. Like Wadström, who also was responsible for the adapted "Plan and Sections of a Slave Ship" displayed nearby, Von Breda was an abolitionist. In the nine years that he lived and worked in England (from 1787 to 1796), Von Breda painted and exhibited the portraits of a number of other prominent abolitionists, including James Ramsay, Thomas Clarkson, and Sir Joshua Reynolds.

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)

Adrienne L. Childs, The Black Figure in the European Imaginary, London; Winter Park, FL, 2017, p. 51, pl. 6, N8232 +C59 2017 Oversize (YCBA)

Figures of Empire : Slavery and Portraiture in Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Britain, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2014, pp. 23-24, 42, fig. 7, V 2556 (YCBA)

Christopher Maxwell, In sparkling company : reflections on glass in the 18th-century British world, Corning Museum of Glass, Corning : NY, p. 74, fig. 51, NK5143 .M46 2020+ (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/

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