Collection online

sugar-bowl / box

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Blue glass sugar bowl inscribed in gilt 'EAST INDIA SUGAR/not made by/SLAVES' accompanied by a wooden box (not original but of the period) on four gilt brass feet with hinged lid and two lion-mask-and-ring handles containing three compartments, two formerly lined with lead for green and black tea, the central one for the bowl.


  • Date

    • 1820-1830 (circa)
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 110 millimetres (bowl)
    • Diameter: 100 millimetres (bowl)
    • Length: 278 millimetres (box)
    • Height: 135 millimetres (box)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Position

        on one side
      • Inscription Content

        EAST INDIA SUGAR/not made by/SLAVES
  • Curator's comments

    This glass bowl is thought to be unique, although another may have been in the antiques trade. Associated with the Campaign for the Abolition of Slavery. For a sugar bowl of rather similar shape with lion mask rudimentary handles and a conical cover made of pottery with a blue-grey glaze, ht. 6ins, attributed to Staffordshire or Sunderland, c. 1820, see Robert Hunter (ed.), 'Ceramics in America 2001, publ. by the Chipstone Foundation, distrib. by University Press of New England, Hanover and London, 2001, fig. 22, p. 41.
    A bone china sugar bowl (no cover) decorated on one side with a slave kneeling under a palm tree and on the other with a gilt inscription: East India Sugar not made/By Slaves./By Six Families using/East India, instead of/West India Sugar,one/Slave less is required" is illustrated by Sam Margolin, "And Freedom to the Slave": Antislavery Ceramics, 1787-1865', in R. Hunter (ed.), 'Ceramics in America 2002', p. 88, figs 18, 19.

    A drabware sugar bowl (cover lacking) with the same inscription as on the BM glass bowl in gold is in the Norwich Castle Museum, illus Transactions of the English Ceramic Circle, vol. 20, part 2, p. 337, fig. 19


  • Location

    On display: G47/dc7

  • Condition

    Excellent. The box, however, lacks the lead liners to the compartments and has replacement feet. Its condition is otherwise generally good.

  • Associated events

    • Associated Event: Abolition of slavery
  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number


COMPASS Title: Blue glass sugar bowl

COMPASS Title: Blue glass sugar bowl

Image description



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Object reference number: MCT28262

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