Artist: Pellatt & Green Falcon Glass Works
Title: Cologne Bottle with Anti-Slavery Sulphide
Blown glass with sulphide inclusion, cut
Overall: 6 3/8 in. (16.2 cm) Overall, Rim: 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm) Base: 2 1/2 in. (6.4 cm)
Intended to be used as cologne, this bottle bears part of the seal of the British Committee for the Abolition of Slavery: a man in chains pleading for freedom. Josiah Wedgwood, a potter and abolitionist, designed the seal. The complete seal incorporated the motto “Am I Not a Man and a Brother?” The opaque white image of the man was first made in a special clay and fired. It was then encased in molten glass while the vessel was being shaped. The decorative pattern around the bottle is cut directly into the surface after the vessel has cooled.
After the Revolutionary War, many northern states agreed to abolish the slave trade, albeit in a gradual process. Despite clashes between those for and against slavery, the abolitionist movement grew in size and strength. Across the Atlantic in England, the Slave Trade Act of 1807 did away with the slave trade in the British Empire, but slavery remained legal until the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833. In the United States, slavery continued until the sixteenth President, Abraham Lincoln, passed The Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, and by 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment ended slavery. Although slavery was abolished, conflicts involving prejudices and racial segregation would continue well into the next century.