bonbonniere, made in Staffordshire, around 1770, © Manchester City Galleries
Made in Staffordshire, around 1770
Copper, handpainted with enamels and gilt
This pretty box for sweets hides a bitter secret.
The sweets it contained were made from sugar cane
that was cut and processed by enslaved Africans
on British owned plantations in the Caribbean.
The British Government imposed taxes
on sugar from any other source
and ensured that Britain was also sole supplier
of all goods imported into British controlled colonies.
The profits from sugar and slavery boosted the economy,
kick starting the Industrial Revolution.
The money also provided disposable income for luxuries
like tea, coffee, chocolate, rum and sugar
and attractive accessories for storing and serving them.
Harold Raby bequest 1958.467