|"Jefferson" 2.35 inch by 2.5 inch child's early 19th century child's mug.|
Jefferson wasn't the only American Founding Father and President to own slaves: George Washington and James Madison were also slave holders. However, this is not going to be a post about the evils of slavery, that too is self-evident. My visit to Monticello inspired me to look at anti-slavery transferware. Much of anti-slavery or abolitionist transferware patterns were meant for children. Remember, that children's pottery was intended to instruct as well as delight.
|"Perish Slavery/Prosper Freedom" child's mug. "Perish Slavery" indeed!|
|Early 19th century mug illustrating a slave sale.|
|The other side of the mug above includes the poem: "Like cattle to a fair,/They sell us, young and old/From mother too they tear-/For love of filthy gold."|
|Close-up of the scene on the mug above.|
|An interesting juxtaposition|
Also seen at Washington & Lee University.
|"Remember them that are in Bonds" child's plate.|
Not all anti-slavery transferware patterns were intended for children. Here is one of my favorites. The poem on the other side of the jug was written by William Cowper (1731-1800) in 1788.
|"Am Not I A Man And A Brother" jug with lustre decoration.|
|The other side of the above jug includes the words of William Cowper's "The Negro's Complaint: Fleecy locks and black complexion/ Cannot forfeit nature's claim;/ Skins may differ, but affection / Dwells in white and black the same./ Slaves of gold whose sordid dealings/ Tarnish all your boasted powers:/ Prove that you have human feelings/ Ere you boldly question ours." Here is a link to the entire poem.|
When I visited Monticello as a child, there was mention of slavery, but no condemnation of it. Luckily, times have changed. Sort of.