2 [SLAVERY - PRINT]. MORLAND Slave trade. Virtual Print Fair 106


Description: Large anti-slavery mezzotint in subtle contemporary hand-colouring

[SLAVERY - PRINT]. MORLAND, George and John Raphael SMITH.
Slave trade.

London, S. Morgan, 20 April 1802. In passepartout. Large mezzotint (plate size 48 x 65 cm) hand-coloured (and partly coloured in the plate, a la poupé?), printed on unwatermarked wove paper (58 x 77.5 cm) copied in reverse by John Raphael Smith after George Morland. With title and publisher's information below the illustration at centre, and a 4-line verse (2 lines on each side of the title).

Very rare second state of an anti-slavery print in very subtle contemporary hand-colouring (the red appears to have been coloured a la poupé and printed with the black, the other colours probably added in watercolour after printing). It was engraved in mezzotint by the well-known British print publisher John Raphael Smith (1751-1812) in 1791 after a painting by the popular painter George Morland (1763-1804) titled "Execrable human traffick; or the affectionate slaves". It depicts an African family being separated by slave traders on the West African coast; the father watches while his wife and child are taken away to a boat where another captured man sits with his head in his hands. It was published simultaneously with "African Hospitality", also after a painting by Morland, and the two are sometimes described together as a complementary pair. When the original painting was exhibited in 1788 at the Royal Academy it was one of the first works of fine art dealing with slavery to be exhibited in Britain.
The print was originally published by John Raphael Smith in 1791. He sold his stock in 1802, when the plates of the print were apparently acquired by S. Morgan who immediately published copies in the present state. A third state, also published by S. Morgan, appeared in 1814. A stipple-engraved copy was published in 1794 in Paris.
A bit browned and soiled along the edges but not reaching the plate edge, a small tear in the head margin, and a few very minor wrinkles and tiny defects on the image (the largest, a 2 mm spot in the sky, appears to be a printing defect). Good copy.
Art and emancipation in Jamaica, pp. 302-303 (1st state, mentioning the 1814 state).
  • Number: 1060122 (FA8EZNSK37XE)
  • Dealer: Speculum Orbis Nauticum

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