Revealing Histories: Remembering Slavery

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The Desert - Responses by gallery visitors and staff

The Desert, 1902.2: Alice Campbell audio response - Campbell, Ms Alice

1902.2 The Desert
My name is Alice Campbell. I picked up and read your pamphlet 'Revealing Histories: Remembering Slavery' and was drawn to the painting by Sir Edwin Landseer, of the Fallen Monarch and found myself eventually sitting opposite this magnificent picture.

I was impressed with Landseer's skill, then I found myself examining in my mind's eye the reasons for this picture. I realised I was filled with compassion that this beautiful creature had 'died after a long illness'. I then became angry that he had probably suffered unnecessary pain as in those days there wasn't the knowledge or wish to save its life - so long as it was useful to its owners. I tried then to put myself in his position. Alone, in pain and possibly grieving for his mate and on show for the excitement of onlookers. I felt overwhelmed with grief, I wanted to put out my hand, to comfort and help him and I felt my face awash with tears of deep anguish at his plight. All this had happened through no fault of his own. What wretched people to do this. And I realised that we as a people had not only done this in the animal world, but shamefully also to our fellow man by enslaving them.

We've still a long way to go to redress the wrongs of the world, but we trust, we will when looking at this beautiful beast. Please think and think again, and do something positive for its sake, and the world today in general.

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Alice Campbell shares her feelings in response to The Desert. She questions the way humankind treats animals and compares it to how badly we also treat fellow human beings.

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