Is it not enough that we are torn from our country and friends, to toil for your luxury and lust of gain? Must every tender feeling be likewise sacrificed to your avarice? ... Why are parents to lose their children, brothers their sisters, husbands their wives?
- Olaudah Equiano (also known as Gustavus Vassa), (c.1745-1797), anti-slavery campaigner author of The Interesting Narrative and slavery abolitionist
2007 marks the 200th anniversary of the passing of the Act of Parliament that legally ended British involvement in the transatlantic trade in African people to serve as slave labour in the Americas, the West Indies and Europe. This Act did not end slavery in the British Empire, nor did it end the involvement of British companies in the slave trade. 1807 did, however, mark the moment when men and women - privileged and poor, enslaved and free - celebrated their initial success against a barbaric trade.
To commemorate this anniversary the National Portrait Gallery has created a new gallery trail that highlights some of the individuals in the Collection who have been associated with the history of the slave trade. It mainly includes those who profited from the trade in enslaved peoples, reflecting the reliance on slave labour to create wealth, position and influence in British society. It also brings together those who suffered and survived the cruelties and indignities of transportation and those who fought slavery, with those who were present in Britain due to its lasting legacies. There are many others who are a part of this story but remain unknown, although not forgotten, such as the young girl who appears in this portrait, and the many ordinary working men and women who took part in the nation-wide abolition campaign.
This trail has been researched and written for the National Portrait Gallery by Dr Caroline Bressey, University College, London.
Visit From Your Armchair
Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize
An online exhibition celebrating the very best in contemporary portrait photography.
Explore our community photography project, which presents a personal record of the UK during lockdown.
Sculptures in 360°
See sculptures and fascinating objects from our Collection from all angles.
David Hockney: Drawing from Life
Watch highlights from our special exhibition, which had to close early in March 2020 due to lockdown.
- King Henry VIII; King Henry VII (NPG 4027)
- Sir Francis Drake (NPG 4032)
- Sir Walter Ralegh (Raleigh); Walter Ralegh (NPG 3914)
- King Charles I (NPG 1246)
- Samuel Pepys (NPG 211)
- King Charles II (NPG 4691)
- Louise de Kéroualle, Duchess of Portsmouth with an unknown female attendant (NPG 497)
- Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt (NPG 3794)
- John Locke (NPG 4061)
- Queen Anne (NPG 6187)
- Sir Isaac Newton (NPG 558)
- Alexander Pope (NPG 1179)
- Horace Walpole (NPG 988)
- Samuel Johnson (NPG 1597)
- Laurence Sterne (NPG 5019)
- John Wesley (NPG 135)
- The Death of the Earl of Chatham (NPG L146)
- Josiah Wedgwood (NPG 1948)
- William (Thomas) Beckford (NPG 5340)
- William Cowper (NPG 1423)
- Mary Wollstonecraft (NPG 1237)
- Horatio Nelson (NPG 73)
- William Blake (NPG 212)
- Hannah More (NPG 412)
- William Wilberforce (NPG 3)
- The Anti-Slavery Society Convention, 1840 (NPG 599)
- Charles Dickens (NPG 315)
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning (NPG 1899)
- Thomas Carlyle (NPG 1002)
- Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (NPG 5724)
- Harold Moody (NPG 6380)
- Sarah Forbes Bonetta (Sarah Davies) (NPG Ax61380)
- Florence Mills in 'Dover Street to Dixie' at the London Pavilion (NPG x85305)
- Vengalil Krishnan Krishna Menon (NPG x90612)
- Diane Abbott (NPG x76443)
- Kwame Kwei-Armah (NPG x126728)
- Sir John Hawkins (NPG D3236)
- Aphra Behn (NPG D9483)
- William Ansah Sessarakoo (NPG D9199)
- Ignatius Sancho (NPG D3581)
- Olaudah Equiano ('Gustavus Vassa') (NPG D8546)
- Toussaint L'Ouverture (NPG D8211)
- Billy Waters (NPG D20528)
- John Newton (NPG D16282)
- Tom Molineaux ('Molineaux') (NPG D13314)
- Thomas Clarkson (NPG D1468)
- Jan or Dyani Tzatzoe (Tshatshu); Andries Stoffles; James Read Sr; James Read Jr; John Philip (NPG D8773)
- William Cuffay (NPG D13148)
- Ira Aldridge (NPG D7311)