International Museum Day: 30 Objects – Society for the Abolition of Slavery

24 May 2017

For International Museum Day on 18 May our Head of Collections, Alice, has chosen her top 30 objects from Mount Stuart’s Collections which we’ll bring to you throughout the Month. Ranging from books, furniture, silver-work, paintings and documentation from hundreds of years of Stuart family life, this barely scratches the surface of our Collections so make sure to plan your visit and experience it for yourself!

Our twentieth object is a Jasperware Medallion made for the Society for the Abolition of Slavery by Wedgewood c. 1787

An early example of design as a tool for supporting a cause this medallion was a major symbol of the Abolitionist Movement in the late eighteenth century and was originally crafted by William Hackwood of the Wedgewood Company. The image is of a kneeling slave in chains and the motto ‘Am I not a Man and a Brother’, which can be seen on the face of the medallion, was also the seal of the Society for the Abolition of Slavery.

At the time the Wedgewood Company was owned by Josiah Wedgewood, an avid supporter of the Abolitionist Movement and a key figure in factory reform. Led by his Unitarianism values and belief in liberty, tolerance and rationality Josiah was able to help usher in the factory age for pottery production, train women as skilled labourers, and fight for better the conditions for workers both within and out of the factory.