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Historical Documents
The Slave Trade (Biard)

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The Slave Trade (Biard)

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Painted in 1840 during a time when slavery was still legal in French colonies, The Slave Trade by Auguste-Francois Biard is a strong statement against the institution. Like George Morland's painting entitled The Slave Trade, the scene is set on the African coast. Unlike Morland's version, which captures the moment when an African couple is separated, Biard's version is meant to communicate more about the slave trade -- it reveals various types of slave traders and the variety of miseries that were inflicted upon captured Africans.

Grand paintings dealing with this subject were not too common in Biard's day. Few patrons were willing to purchase a piece of art for their homes that depicted such cruelty. The painting did find a home, though -- it was given to Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, a zealous abolitionist.

Image Credit: Wilberforce House, Kingston upon Hull City Museums and Art Galleries, UK

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Related Entries:
Efforts to end the slave trade

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