Friday, 13 March 2015
This Georgian lead sundial depicting a slave, The Blackamoor, sits in the conservatory at Wentworth Castle Gardens. It was a popular subject for sculpture in the gardens of grand mansions, initially because of the wealth generated by the slave trade. Later, these sculptures became a symbol adopted by the abolitionist movement: 'Am I not a man and a brother?' A notice beside this particular sundial said that it had at one time been painted white as a protest, by students from the college. They have recently removed the white paint and restored it to its former colours. Personally, I find it a powerful and moving reminder both of our not-always-glorious history and of the fact that things can change when brave people speak out.