This white jasper (stoneware) anti-slavery medallion was made by Josiah Wedgwood and Sons in England in about 1840. Josiah Wedgwood had many interests beyond pottery and was active in social reform. He helped form the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade and made these medallions to publicise the cause. Modelled by William Hackwood in 1787, its motto 'Am I not a man and a brother', was adopted by the abolition campaign.
While porcelain continued to play an important role in fashionable interior decoration and daily life in Europe in the 1700s, it was Josiah Wedgwood's pottery that had the greatest impact.
A leading Staffordshire potter in Burslem (now Stoke-on-Trent) since 1759, Wedgwood set up his highly efficient Etruria factory in 1769 to produce an impressive range of vases, ornaments and tableware. Trend-setting classical designs – often by noted artists – new materials and quality production appealed to his 'enlightened' clients. Wedgwood's bold and inventive marketing ensure the popularity of his wares, from royalty to what he called the 'common people'.