C1830 Brass Chimney Ornament emblematic of Africa, a tiny abolitionist treasure?

$150.00 (SOLD B)


Only 9 cm tall, 8.5 cm wide and 2 cm deep, this flat brass Georgian chimney ornament is rich is historical references. The rich costume featuring bow and arrows, a dramatic headdress and kilt apparently made of feathers or leaves, a leopard skin shawl and textile scarf can more clearly be seen in colour, in porcelain figure groups of the four continents. The costume is also visible in Italian carved wood Blackamoors. As this ornament comes form the time there was much agitation in England for the abolition of the slave trade that made Britain rich, is this a folkloric abolitionist statement? The abolitionists were eventually successful in 1833, and the act came into effect in 1834, freeing English owned slaves in the Caribbean, South Africa and Canada. The exotic and complex costume seen here has a lot to do with the idea of the Noble Savage, promoted by Rousseau. Anti-abolitionists generally avoided any references to a sophisticated native culture.

The ornament is also hugely attractive aesthetically.

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