Abolition of Slave Trade - Bicentenary Commemorative Badge
In 1787 Granville Sharp and Thomas Clarkson decided to form the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. Influential figures such as William Wilberforce, John Wesley and Josiah Wedgwood also gave their full support to the campaign and were instrumental in promoting the Society's cause in both parliamentary and public circles.
In 1807 the society won its battle with Parliament passing of the “Abolition of the Slave Trade Act”. This act made it illegal to traffic slaves within the British Empire. The act was largely enforced by the Royal Navy.
Josiah Wedgwood's most important contribution to the movement for the abolition of slavery was the production of his "Slave Medallion". These mainly black and white jasper ware medallions were modelled by William Hackwood at Wedgwood's Etruria Pottery in Staffordshire. Their central design depicted the emblem and motto of the Society for the Abolition of Slavery and is a good demonstration of how Wedgwood was able to adapt his craft for political function.
A wood cut print commissioned by Josiah Wedgewood in 1792 to adorn the cover of campaigning pamphlets issued by the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade.
One of the jasper ware medallions produced by Josiah Wedgewood to publicise the cause of the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade.
From 1878 these medallions were distributed in great quantity, primarily to adorn fashion accessories. In being so worn the medallions publicised the suffering of slaves and hence were instrumental in turning popular feeling in favour of the anti-slavery movement. Following the adaptation of the medallion to adorn snuff boxes, hat pins and brooches, Thomas Clarkson remarked;
"Fashion, which usually confines itself to worthless things was seen for once in the honourable office of promoting the cause of justice, humanity and freedom".
Wedgwood sent a large number of the medallions to Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia who also remarked on their value as a means of bringing awareness of the existence of slavery to the public. Franklin was particularly interested in the art of pottery and his appreciation of Wedgwood’s art is seen from his reply to Josiah on receipt of the gift of slave medallions. He writes;
"I am distributing your valuable present of cameos among my friends in whose countenances I have seen such marks of being affected by contemplating the figure of the Suppliant (which is admirably executed) that I am persuaded it may have an effect equal to that of the best written pamphlet in procuring honour to those oppressed people".
Historical Foot Note:
The Abolition of the Slave Trade Act of 1807 didn't address the plight of those men, women and children were already sold into slavery throughout Britain's dominions. This prompted Sharp, Thomas Clarkson and Thomas Fowell Buxton to form the Society for the Mitigation and Gradual Abolition of Slavery. In 1823 a new Anti-Slavery Society was formed whose members included Thomas Clarkson, Henry Brougham, William Wilberforce, and Thomas Fowell Buxton. Two years later, women such as Elizabeth Pease, Anne Knight, Elizabeth Heyrick and Mary Lloyd began forming women's Anti-Slavery Societies. As a result of the campaigning of several of these women's groups between 1827 and 30 the national society dropped the words "gradual abolition" from its title and agreed to support Sarah Wedgwood's plan for a new campaign to bring about immediate abolition. The Society finally won its fight in 1833 with Parliament passing the “Abolition of Slavery Act”. This finally gave all slaves in the British Empire their freedom.
The Bicentenary Commemorative Badge
The inspiration for our commemorative badge to mark the bicentenary of the passing of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act of 1807 is taken directly from Wedgwood's medallions. The badge's ornate belt border being based upon a contemporary engraving by the well-known artist Thomas Bewick.
Badge Description & Specifications
Badge Type: High quality hard enamelled badge complete with brooch pin attachment.
Size: 36 mm tall by 28 mm wide.
Colour: Cream, black and polished gold..
Obverse: See above artists illustration. Central depiction of negro slave kneeling in chains. Legend around outer decorated belt border reads ٭ AM I NOT A MAN AND A BROTHER ٭ plus the dates 1807 and 2007.
Reverse: Engraved on the reverse in four lines the legend "Bicentenary of / Abolition of Slave Trade / In British Empire / 25th March 1807" plus a unique stamped issue number out of a stated total of 300 making each badge unique. Badge makers marks in exergue. Only 300 badges are to be made making them a very sort after limited collectors edition.
Price: £4.00 plus postage and packaging (see options below). Each badge is dispatched by first class post with a Royal Mail proof of posting certificate. See below for postage options and rates.
Availability: 20th mid April 2007.
Overseas and other Postage & Packing Options
Posting and packaging within the Great Britain & Northern Ireland are available at the following rates;
First Class Delivery - £0.80
First Class Recorded Delivery - £1.50
Special Delivery (Insured) - £5.00 (Recommended for larger orders over 8 badges in size).
Outside of the Great Britain & Northern Ireland;
None insured First Class Airmail Delivery - £1.75.
Mailing option is at buyers choice. The seller can not take responsibility for any losses in the postal system.
To avoid any disappointment reserve your badge first by e-mail then send payment in the form of postal orders or a personal cheque made out
in Pounds Sterling to;
2, Mill Terrace, Thorpe Thewles, Stockton-on-Tees, Cleveland. TS21 3JS.
Badges will be despatched immediately on clearance of payment.
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