Anti-Slavery Embroidered Picture (1794)

Anti-slavery embroidered picture, the Netherlands, 1794. Anti-slavery embroidered picture, the Netherlands, 1794. Courtesy Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, acc. no. NG-1991-22.

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam houses a late-eighteenth century embroidered picture (65 x 75 x 7.5 cm) protesting against the continuing practice of slavery. The name of the embroideress and the date of completion are embroidered underneath the picture: L. van Ommeren / Geb. Hengevelt / 1794. The embroideress was Louise van Ommeren (née Hengevelt), who lived in Arnhem.

The picture, worked in silk on a silk ground material, shows a group of people sitting in a garden. Upon a table there is a mousetrap with a mouse being caught. Between picture and signature a text is embroidered:

BeKomt, daar onse harten bloeden / Dat hier onse daden spreken, / Op het zien van slavernij / Laten wij dit Muisje vrij.

('Come, because our hearts are bleeding, let here our deeds speak for themselves, upon seeing slavery, let us set this little mouse free').

Source: LEGÊNE, Susan (2000). 'Gekooide levens: Een vrije interpretatie van een borduurwerk tegen de slavernij,' Bulletin van het Rijksmuseum, 48 (2000), pp. 280-293.

See also the TRC Needles entry on an embroidered picture of Claudius Civilis.

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam online catalogue (retrieved 19th June 2016).



Last modified on Sunday, 30 April 2017 18:58