A is for Abolitionist

By SHARP, [Granville], 1750 
£1,500
£1,200

O Sing praises unto our God, sing ye praises with Understanding. Mess.rs Sharp.

Ephemera
  • Author: SHARP, [Granville]
  • Publication place: London
  • Publication date: c1760-1800
  • Physical description: Engraved trade card.
  • Dimensions: 135 by 125mm. (5.25 by 5 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 17950

Notes

Book-plate of Granville Sharp, the son of Dr Thomas Sharp, the Archdeacon of Northumberland. Sharp was born in 1735 and held a significant position in the Ordnance Office under King George III. He was also a Biblical scholar, classicist, talent musician, and noted abolitionist, proposing a colony of free Africans in Sierra Leone.

His book-plate shows a detailed illustration of an organ set behind an elaborately engraved choir screen. In the centre of the lower edge is the Sharp family arms in a Chippendale frame, and surrounding the entire image are the words of a prayer:

It becometh well the just to sing praises unto our god. O Sing praises unto our God, sing ye praises with Understanding. I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live. Amen”. Although this reflects the words and spirit of several psalms, it does not appear to be taken directly from the Bible. An inscription below the engraving records that Granville Sharp himself drew the design for the book-plate. Sharp lived from 1735 to 1813, making it likely that the present book-plate was made some time in the later half of the eighteenth century. 

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