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Print - An Emancipated Negro
  • An Emancipated Negro
    Cruikshank, George, born 1792 - died 1878
  • Enlarge image

An Emancipated Negro

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (published)

  • Date:

    1833 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cruikshank, George, born 1792 - died 1878 (artist)
    Mc Lean, Thomas (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraving, coloured by hand

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by John Jones

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case TOPIC, shelf 4

George Cruikshank was the son of Isaac Cruikshank, a maker of satirical prints, in whose workshop George was producing signed work by the age of seven. He went on to become a prolific producer of caricatures, political and social satires and literary illustrations.

The ‘golden age’ of satirical printmaking, dominated by James Gillray (1756-1815), Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827) and Cruikshank (1792-1878), was between 1780 and 1830. This period coincided with the founding and development of the mass movements for the abolition of the slave trade and subsequent abolition of slavery within Britain’s West Indies colonies. Unsurprisingly, then, slavery and abolitionism were themes addressed by many print satirists whose work featured black people in a number of social and political contexts.

In this print Cruikshank appears to support the claims of the pro-slavery lobby, which argued that abolition of the slave trade would spell disaster for Britain’s West Indies colonies and for the enslaved African populations who worked the plantations and required the 'protection' of the colonisers. Cruikshank’s image of ‘An Emancipated Negro’ shows an emaciated, white-haired, black African man, chasing a winged insect along the beach, a dagger in his right hand, crying out ‘food!’.

Physical description

Satirical colour print depicting an emaciated, white-haired black African man, chasing a winged insect along a beach, a dagger in his right hand, crying out 'food'!

Place of Origin

London (published)


1833 (published)


Cruikshank, George, born 1792 - died 1878 (artist)
Mc Lean, Thomas (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

Engraving, coloured by hand

Marks and inscriptions

Inscribed on bottom left:
Published by Tomas Lean, 26 Haymarket, 20 May 1833'
Bottom right:
'A. Ducotes. Lithog.r. 10 St. Martin Lane'

At bottom, centre:


Height: 44.5 cm, Width: 30 cm

Descriptive line

'An Emancipated Negro', print by George Cruikshank

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

NB: The term ‘negro’ was used historically to describe people of black (sub-Saharan) African heritage but, since the 1960s, has fallen from usage and, increasingly, is considered offensive. The term is repeated here in its original historical context.

Subjects depicted

Dagger; Slave; Butterfly; Hunger


Slavery & Abolitionism; Black History; Prints


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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