by John Opie
Mary Wollstonecraft directly compared the experience of enslaved Africans to that of women. In her Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792), she asked, 'Is sugar always to be produced by vital blood? Is one half of the human species, like the poor African slaves, to be subject to prejudices that brutalise them, when principles would be a surer guard, only to sweeten the cup of man? Is not this indirectly to deny woman reason?' During the 1790s, women were actively encouraged to boycott slave-produced goods such as sugar and rum to add economic weight to the abolitionist campaign.
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Artist and sitter interviews
Get insights into creating portraiture from BP Portrait Award 2020 artists and their sitters.
Watch our film created to say ‘goodbye’ to the Gallery before we closed for our major transformation project.