The Benevolent Effects of Abolishing Slavery or the Planter instructing his Negro

The Benevolent Effects of Abolishing Slavery or the Planter instructing his Negro

1792
W. Pyott
Active late 18th century
Mezzotint on medium, cream, slightly textured wove paper
Sheet: 19 1/4 x 14 3/4 inches (48.9 x 37.5 cm) Plate: 16 15/16 × 11 7/8 inches (43 × 30.2 cm) Image: 15 3/4 × 11 13/16 inches (40 × 30 cm) Frame: 24 × 20 × 1 inches (61 × 50.8 × 2.5 cm)
     W. Pyott’s print is based on a painting (now in the Nordic Museum, Sweden) by Carl Frederik von Breda, which was exhibited in 1789 at the Royal Academy in London with
the title Portrait of a Swedish Gentleman instructing a Negro Prince. Von Breda’s portrait depicts the Swedish abolitionist Carl Bernhard Wadström with Peter Panah, son of the king of Cape Mesurado (in present-day Liberia). Panah was kidnapped in Africa and taken to the West Indies and then to London, where Wadström purchased his freedom. Pyott’s
print converts von Breda’s portrait into an abolitionist genre scene. Wadström is here transformed into a white planter, and Panah into a freed African laborer—who is nonetheless
still defined in the print’s title as the planter’s possession. 
     Like Wadström, who also was responsible for the adapted Plan and Sections of a Slave Ship displayed nearby, Von Breda was an abolitionist. In the nine years that he lived and
worked in England (from 1787 to 1796), Von Breda painted and exhibited the portraits of a number of other prominent abolitionists, including James Ramsay, Thomas Clarkson,
and Sir Joshua Reynolds.
B2010.14
Inscribed on verso in graphite, upper left: "P30725 | pu"
Lettered below image, lower left: "Painted by Chas. Fred De Breda RA of Stockholm | and Painter to the King of Sweden"; below image, lower center: "The Benevolent EFFECTS of Abolishing Slavery | Or the PLANTER instructing his NEGRO." ; below: "Publish'd June 1792 by W. Pyott, N. 90, Great Titchfield Street Oxford Road"; below image, lower right: "Engraved by W Pyott"
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund