Every day objects can often have a significance that is overlooked. The sugar bowl, for example– most households have one, yet this humble object is a symbol of the incredible rise of the sugar trade and its part in the transatlantic slavery.
The introduction of tea, coffee & cocoa into Europe became an important factor in the rise of the sugar trade, as it was used to sweeten these naturally bitter drinks. Initially an expensive luxury, by the late 1700’s the supply had increased to allow it to become cheap enough for the masses. The large majority of the sugar supplied to the UK was produced by slave labour.
This sugar bowl inscribed ‘East India Sugar. The produce of free labour’ is an example of how the abolitionist movement would use every day objects make people think about how products were produced. It was manufactured around 1820-1830, after the transatlantic slave trade had been abolished in the UK but before the enslaved Africans working on the plantations in the Americas had been emancipated.