The Portrait of Dido Elizabeth Belle and Lady Elizabeth Murray (1770s-1780s, Scone Palace) pictures two cousins together, one Afro-Scottish and the other Scottish and Polish. Their depiction offers a contrast: Dido is shown in an exoticised fashion, whereas Lady Elizabeth is portrayed as an English rose. Dido's mother was enslaved and her father was an officer in the Royal Navy. Their portrait was painted against the backdrop of the two major slavery cases in the eighteenth-century - the Somerset Case of 1772 and the Zong Trial of 1783-1783, both of which their guardian and great-uncle, Lord Mansfield, presided over. Dr. Jennifer Germann will address the complexity of the portrait in light of conflicted ideas about liberty and slavery across the Atlantic world.
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