Rare banner proclaiming end of slavery to be sold at Chiswick Auctions

Image above: The blue and gold silk banner; photograph Chiswick Auctions

Rare silk banner proclaims the end of slavery in the British Empire

A rare silk banner proclaiming the abolition of slavery in the British Empire in 1834 is on sale at Chiswick Auctions this month.

The blue and gold silk banner, which forms part of an extraordinary single-owner collection, reads ‘August 1, 1834 Slavery in the British Dominions Utterly and for every Abolished’ is expected to bring £1000-£2000 at the 18 January auction.

The Slavery Abolition Act, which freed more than 800,000 enslaved Africans in the Caribbean and South Africa as well as a small number in Canada, had received Royal Assent on August 28, 1833 but did not take effect until August 1, 1834. The law became a source of inspiration and hope for abolitionists and enslaved people in other nations, particularly the United States.

The banner is one of many ‘cabinet of curiosity’ items assembled by a London dealer in mechanical and scientific antiques. They were collected in the 1980s and 90s during frequent visits to antiques fairs, markets and shops in the UK, Europe and America. Most have been in storage for 20 years.

Head of sale Austin Farahar said:

“I’ve not seen one before – doubtless many similar pennants and banners were made at the time to mark the event but very few appear to have survived.

“Textiles associated with emancipation are much rarer than other commemoratives such as pottery mugs and jugs. Generally prices for slavery memorabilia have been rising – driven by interest from US museums and institutions that are keen to improve their holdings of material relating to the experience of African Americans.”

You can see more information or bid on the banner on Chiswick Auctions’ website:


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