Mar 24, 2022 - Sale 2598

Sale 2598 - Lot 42

Price Realized: $ 10,625
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,000 - $ 3,000
(SLAVERY & ABOLITION.) Abolitionist handbag in support of the "Negro Woman who sittest pining in captivity." Silk bag, 9 1/2 x 9 inches, printed in ink on both sides, with silk drawstring at top, and small silk bows at bottom corners; minor wear and light folds. [England, circa 1825?]

Additional Details

One side features an engraving of a seated enslaved woman with a baby. The other side features an unattributed quotation from "Hymns in Prose, for Children" by Anna Leticia Barbauld, first published in 1781 and quoted many times by abolitionists through the early 19th century: "Negro Woman who sittest pining in captivity and weepest over thy sick child though no one seeth thee. God seeth thee though no one pitieth thee. God pitieth thee; raise thy voice forlorn and abandoned one; call upon him from amidst thy bonds for assuredly He will hear thee."

This handbag or reticule is undated, but a small number with similar designs survive in museum collections. One is at the Library of the Religious Society of Friends in England, tracing back to an English owner circa 1820. The Friends' Intelligencer of 21 March 1903 mentions a similar purse brought back from England in 1825.