Take a Closer Look - 'Am I not a Man and a Brother'

This is a very interesting snuff box in many ways. Firstly the image on the lid, based on Josiah Wedgwood’s workshop’s designs of the most identifiable image of the 18th century abolition movement, a kneeling African man.

The image originated from the Quaker society, some of the first leaders of the abolition of slavery movement in Britain and the USA. They saw the abolition of slavery as a Christian duty and when they met in London in 1787 a design for a seal was created for use by the society. The image was of an African kneeling and bound by chains with the motto ‘Am I not a Man and a Brother”. Cameos were made attributed to the Wedgewood factory and were worn as a fashion statement as bracelets, hair accessories and on snuff boxes both in the UK and USA.

Inside the box is a newspaper cutting commemorating a Mr. Clarkson, probably an obituary referring to famed English abolitionist Thomas Clarkson. He helped found The Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade and helped achieve passage of the Slave Trade Act of 1807, which ended British trade in slaves. Could this have been his snuff box or someone who greatly admired him. The fact that the box is not showy suggests the owner was probably from that sector.

This lovely and historically important snuff box measures 3 1/2” long, 2” wide, and just over 1” high. It is in good condition excepting a very discreet, tight and stable surface scratch running from the lip at the lid’s end down the right side . This is only on the surface and doesn’t go through to the inside.

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
We first became involved in Antique Treen and furniture some twenty five years ago and since then a passion for Treen, small wooden snuff boxes and decorative wooden items has developed into Opus Antiques.

This web site shows only a  small selection of our current stock for sale, if you are looking for something you don't see, please contact us.


We are also interested in buying Antique Treen items. As well as using our Contact page, you can also email or telephone us on 07941 285532


The word Treen is derived from the word tree and is a term used to describe wooden household objects, all turned from one piece of wood e.g. a bowl, plate, gingerbread mould, and spoons, always having a function.

Nowadays when we talk about Antique Treen it tends to cover all small wooden items including antique snuff boxes, candle stands, spice towers, etc. often made from several pieces of turned wood.


When a piece of wood has been painstakingly turned or carved, handled, polished and loved over a few hundred years old, it can develop a wonderful colour and patina and becomes an irresistible piece of Antique Treen.

  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram

We Accept

Address: Bath, Somerset       Contact Telephone: 07941 285532       Email:  sally.honey@icloud.com