‘Slave in Chains’

This oil painting is by an unidentified British artist and dates from between 1820 and 1850. It shows a young African man, little more than a boy, in a brass neck collar and with manacles around his wrists. The image is the artists’ interpretation and is a romanticized view of enslavement as the chains on this young man’s wrists are only lightly sketched in. It suggests the youth’s misery at being separated from his home and family. He could either be on the coast of Africa or newly arrived in the Americas, with the sea in the background.

© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

Accession reference: National Maritime Museum, ZBA2428