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Jug: C.6-2021

Object information

Current Location: In storage




Production: Unknown




Pearlware, printed on glaze in black with a scene depicting freed slaves celebrating their emancipation. A central, mostly nude, male figure holds his arms aloft, flanked on either side by a woman with a young child (the woman on his left with a book by her side). To the right, another male figure holds aloft his former chains. The background shows a body of water with a ship and some Pyramids (?) in the distance. This scene is printed on both sides of the body of the jug. Beneath the rim (exterior and interior) is a floral border with a central cartouche showing miniature figures by the sea, a ship in the background - a white figure kneeling and offering something to a standing black figure. A group flying the Union Jack can be seen to the left and the figure of Britannia to the right. The underside is printed, 'Negro Emancipation August 1st 1834'.


History note: Robin Simpson; purchased at his sale, the Robin Simpson Collection of Commemorative Ceramics, Woolley & Wallis auction, 8 September 2021, lot 515.

Legal notes

Purchased by the Friends of The Fitzwilliam Museum

Measurements and weight

Height: 12.8 cm
Width: 15.5 cm

Relative size of this object

15.5 cm12.8 cm What does this represent?

Relative size of this object is displayed using code inspired by Good Form and Spectacle's work on the British Museum's Waddeson Bequest website and their dimension drawer. They chose a tennis ball to represent a universally sized object, from which you could envisage the size of an object.

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Purchased from Dr G. A. Singer, B. £100 from the Ritchie-Ginsburg Fund (2021-11-22) by Woolley & Wallis


Second quarter of 19th century
William IV
Production date: circa AD 1834


This jug depicts a number of formerly enslaved people joyfully celebrating the arrival of 1 August 1834, the date that the Abolition of Slavery Act finally came into force in the British Empire. Unlike many abolitionist ceramics, which depict enslaved people as powerless and grateful, this jug depicts enslaved people as joyful to be free of their bondage. Details, such as the inclusion of a book, also hint at more complex lives than those often depicted in art or on objects. In reality, the formerly enslaved in the British West Indies (over the age of six years old) were made to continue working for their former masters under an unpaid apprentice system lasting four to six years. This period ended prematurely on 1 August 1838, when full emancipation was granted for all enslaved people (see plate C.7-2021).

Components of the work

Decoration composed of ceramic printing colour ( black)
Surface composed of lead-glazing

Materials used in production

white Earthenware

Techniques used in production

Printed onglaze

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: the capital letters are enclosed in a rectangular frame with incurved shoulders on top formed by two black lines, and below the date is a flower flanked by sprays of leaves

  • Text: NEGRO EMANCIPATION / August 1st 1834
  • Method of creation: Printed on glaze in black
  • Type: Inscription and date

Inscription present: circular white paper stick-on label with border and printed text round the edge enclosing the lot number

  • Text: within a black circle: Lot No. Robin Simpson Collection 8.9.21/WOOLLEY & WALLIS/HISTORIC & COLLECTABLE the whole surrounding 516 in ink
  • Location: On base
  • Method of creation: Printed in black and hand-written in black ink
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.6-2021
Primary reference Number: 307500
Object entry form: 1556
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Tuesday 30 November 2021 Updated: Wednesday 26 January 2022 Last processed: Thursday 27 January 2022

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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