The Anti-Slavery Society Convention 1840

One of the benefits of having out of town guests is that I get to be a tourist in London. And top of the list is usually visiting one or two of the fine museums. So far with RacquetballGuy, I’ve visited the National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum. All were amazing but I just love the National Portrait Gallery more and more with each visit.

Below is one of my favourite oil on canvas paintings. Titled: The Anti-Slavery Society Convention it was completed in 1840 by Benjamin Robert Haydon.

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As indicated by the National Portrait Gallery: “this monumental painting records the 1840 convention of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society which was established to promote worldwide abolition. A frail and elderly Clarkson addresses a meeting of over 500 delegates. Identifiable portraits include the liberated slave Henry Beckford (b. c. 1809), in the foreground, the Irish Radical Daniel O’Connell (1775-1847) and the prison reformer Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845). Haydon later wrote: ‘a liberated slave, now a delegate, is looking up to Clarkson with deep interest … this is the point of interest in the picture, and illustrative of the object in painting it, the African sitting by the intellectual European, in equality and intelligence.”

This large (117 in. x 151 in.) and truly stunning painting is one that should be seen in person if visiting the National Portrait Gallery.

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