Yale Center for British Art
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
Materials & Techniques:
Mezzotint on medium, slightly textured, cream wove paper
Sheet: 19 1/4 x 14 3/4 inches (48.9 x 37.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Gallery Label:
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. \n\n 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)