Superb and Fine Circa 1807 Anti-Slavery Mezzotint, “Africa – America” - Antique Associated At West Townsend

Superb and Fine Circa 1807 Anti-Slavery Mezzotint, “Africa – America”

Scroll reads… Slave Trade abolishe’d [sic] 1806
A scarce example of significant importance

Superb and Fine Circa 1807 Anti-Slavery Mezzotint, “Africa – America”

Exceptionally scarce. In 1780 Parliament passes an Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery, however it was 1806 before England made the trade in slaves illegal. It was 1834 before slavery was abolished throughout the British Commonwealth.

This polychrome print on glass was produced and exported to the United States promoting the anti-slavery cause… encouraging America to follow England’s lead in abolishing the slave trade. The United States did follow suit in 1808, passing legislation that ended the lawful import of slaves. The failure to ban the trafficking of slaves completely is one of the many factors that led to the great tragedy of the American Civil War.

The work features the figure of Liberty holding an American flag and Africa holding a spear while dressed in a combination of native and Roman garb. In his right hand is a paper titled “SLAVE / TRADE / abolished / 1806”. The background depicts a landscape intended to capture the wilderness of both continents. An alligator/crocodile and a thatched roof hut flank the figure of Africa. George Washington and Benjamin Franklin’s profile portraits are on the plinth supporting a column around which is coiled a serpent that is obviously an allusion to the tempter in the Garden of Eden. Directly behind him and the figure of America is a bucolic lake, hillocks, and open sky. A panel at the bottom of the print has the words America and Africa under the appropriate figures; “Published Aug. 20, 1807, by W.B. Walker; 4 Fox and Knot Court, Cow Lane, London.”

Item Date: 1807

Measurement: View approximately 10" x 14"

Material: Reverse Painted Mezzotint Print on Glass Housed

Item Condition: Presents well, excellent condition; there are neither chips nor flaking in the print; colors are strong and true. The glass is in excellent condition.


SKU 2222-18

For More Information, Please Contact David Hillier at 978-597-8084 or email

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