The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

Human Cargo

John Wesley
after George Romney
based on a work of circa 1789
NPG 2366

The Transatlantic Slave Trade, its Abolition and Contemorary Legacies in Plymouth and Devon

Past partnership exhibition archive

The National Portrait Gallery is working with Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery on the extensive learning programme that forms part of the exhibition Human Cargo: The Transatlantic Slave Trade, its Abolition and Contemporary Legacies in Plymouth and Devon and its related activities.

The exhibition looks at the period between 1450 and 1880 over which 24 million Africans were taken from their homes to work in the Americas. The appalling conditions surrounding their capture and transportation meant that as many as 12 million people died before they reached the plantations. Human Cargo tells of the horrors of the trade, the efforts to abolish it, the aftermath and how Plymouth and Devon were linked with each of these aspects. The exhibition also reflects upon the legacies of slavery that remain with us today through new contemporary interventions by five international artists. The National Portrait Gallery is supporting the exhibition though a number of loans of key figures from the Abolition movement including portraits of William Blake by Thomas Phillips and John Wesley by George Romney.

The learning programme for 'Human Cargo' features an INSET evening for Teachers, family-friendly storytelling sessions, music workshops with West African musician and performer, Seckou Keita, free talks, exhibition tours and a series of food and Fair Trade-related events in partnership with the Eden Project. The DCMS/DCSF National/Regional Strategic Commissioning Partnership Programme is supporting the work between the National Portrait Gallery and Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery.

Human Cargo, will be on display from Saturday 22 September to Saturday 24 November at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery to mark Abolition 200.


Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery
22 September - 24 November 2007



Gallery blog

Read our latest news and have your say.

Join the conversation

Tell us More about our silhouettes, photograph of Hubert Leslie, Silhouettist

Identify our Silhouettes

Join enthusiastic contributors who have already identified 155 sitters.

Help transcribe signatures

Tell us More about our Silvy sitters, photograph of Camille Silvy, photographer with boy

Tell us more about our Silvy sitters

Help us identify the sitters who visited Camille Silvy’s photographic studio during the 1860s.

Identify our sitters