Earthenware plate with engraved transfer of scene from Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin- ' Poor Boy 'They Have Sold You' but Your Mother Will Save You Yet '



This plate is part of a group of four glazed Earthenware plates with engraved transfers of scenes from Harriet Beecher Stowe's ‘Uncle Tom's Cabin’. Published in 1853, the novel was extremely popular throughout the nineteenth century. It inspired various spin-off series, and it is broadly known for its antislavery themes. Subsequently, a great deal of visual material culture has been produced that depicts key scenes from the novel, including this series of plates. Scenes are bordered in a floral garland pattern, circa 1855-65. This plate, titled ‘Poor Boy 'They Have Sold You' but Your Mother Will Save You Yet ’, depicts a key moment that reflects on the ways in which racism manifests in the American South in the novel. The plate shows Eliza comforting her son Harry after he has been sold by Mr Shelby. Eliza overhears Mr Shelby telling Mrs Shelby that he has decided to sell Tom and Harry, despite promising Tom his freedom, and Mrs Shelby’s promise to Eliza (Harry’s mother) that her child would be safe. Eliza resolves to flee, and through some assistance from other characters, and her own determination, seems to be successful in escaping enslavement. Here, we reflect on the ways in which slavery caused irreparable damage to communities and families by separating them at will. We are also offered a story of resistance through Eliza, and an example of the great lengths people will go to protect their loved ones from harm. Scenes on other plates include: Poor Boy 'They Have Sold You' but Your Mother Will Save You Yet; Little Ava Converting Topsy; Tom and Eva: Your Little Child is Your Only True Democrat; Eva Wreathing Tom.