Dunham Massey Kneeling Black Figure Statue Removed

The stature of a black male wearing a feather skirt and holding a sundial has been removed from the forecourt of Dunham Massey Hall. With its link to colonialism, slavery and the slave trade, the statue was removed from its prominent position at the Cheshire stately home. The decision to remove the kneeling black male, holding a sundial above his head, was made by the

National Trust. A spokesperson from the National Trust said the statue was being reviewed, while the Trust aims to “tackle the often painful and challenging histories attached to our places and collections.” The spokesperson added that the Trust is aiming to present history in a manner which “fully acknowledges the appalling histories of slavery and the slave trade.” The source further added, “We don’t want to censor or deny the way colonial histories are woven into the fabric of our buildings. For these reasons, we have decided to move it safely from its previous location while we make plans to address it in a way that fully acknowledges the appalling histories of slavery and the slave trade.”

The statue at Dunham Massey is said to be of a Moor and belongs to a trend in European art, known as Blackamoor, which depicted African figures in positions of subservice. In large estates, the figures were used to accentuate the wealth generated from slavery. In this capacity, recent social movements, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, have called for the complete removal of such works of art. According to the plaque displayed by the statue at Dunham Massey, the sundial was commissioned by King William III. The National Trust website states that the artwork was produced by Andres Carpentier, as part of a series of similar works paying homage to the world’s continents, only four of which had been discovered at the time.