Philobiblon: Those unprejudiced Victorians

Monday, October 03, 2005

Those unprejudiced Victorians

The Observer has a report on an exhibition in Manchester of images of black people in Victorian Britain.

"Her remarkable show reveals black Victorians in all their surprising manifestations, not as marginal figures, but occupying both the centre of the canvas and of their own fascinating lives."

But what I was particularly interested in was Victoria Davies, born in Britain as the daughter of a black merchant and a woman who had been rescued from slavery as a child and taken in and raised by a naval family. She went to Cheltenham Ladies College! (Now, and I imagine then, one of the poshest schools in England for girls.)

Having been to a more downmarket but broadly similar school in Australia, I imagine she must have had a hell of a time, but maybe the Victorians could be more broadminded than we imagine - would be fascinating to know how she fared.


Blogger Penny L. Richards said...

Here's a page about Victoria Davies' mother, Sarah Forbes Bonetta:

It includes a photo of Victoria Davies.

10/04/2005 12:00:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vanity Fair had some such character, a daughter of a Caribbean plantation owner.

10/04/2005 01:19:00 am  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

Thanks Penny - and Anonymous. I'll have to revisit from that angle.

10/04/2005 02:07:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

[from Black Victorians curator ] at Cheltenham on Friday i met a woman who promises to send more info about Victoria Davies ...

10/10/2005 02:39:00 pm  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

Thanks for commenting - I'd love to hear about her. I know she had patronage from Queen Victoria and all that, but if children then were like children now (and I suspect underneath they were) she still might have had a tough time from her peers.

10/10/2005 02:59:00 pm  
Blogger Ann Spam said...

Cheltenham Ladies' College is definitely posh. How did you come by such information? This is very interesting!

10/11/2005 10:56:00 am  

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