Although the Atlantic slave trade was abolished in 1808, some slavers continued to illegally buy slaves in Africa and transport them to locations where slavery was legal. This colored print depicts a West African slave market on the coast of Sierra Leone and is based on an 1840 painting by the French artist Auguste-Francois Biard and its derivative print by British engraver, C.E. Wagstaff. At the center of the scene, two white French slave-traders inspect a potential slave who lies on his back. Another man brands a female slave. In the lower right, an African slave-dealer sits smoking a long pipe. Behind him, a white dealer reclines, apathetically watching the events in front of him. On the left, slaves are whipped and loaded onto ships. A white slaver stands in the forefront with his back to the viewer, holding a device for restraining slaves.
Nathaniel Currier (1813-1888) was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and after serving an apprenticeship in Boston, he moved to New York City in 1834. In New York, he briefly partnered with Adam Stodart, but their firm dissolved within a year, and Currier went into business on his own until 1857. James M. Ives (1824-1895) was a native New York lithographer who was hired as a bookkeeper by Currier in 1852. In 1857, the two men partnered, forming the famous lithography firm of Currier and Ives, which continued under their sons until 1907.
Currently not on view
Date made
after 1863
lithographer; publisher
Currier & Ives
original artist
Baird, Auguste Francois
place made
United States: New York, New York
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
image: 17 in x 23 5/8 in; 43.18 cm x 60.0075 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection
Reform Movements
Civil War
related event
Civil War
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Domestic Life
Domestic Furnishings
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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