The Missing Chapter: Black Chronicles

Introduction to the Missing Chapter: Exhibition in a Box

Exhibition Info

  • February 4th – March 6th, 2020
  • Grace Gallery Panel Discussion: Tuesday, February 11 , 11:30am – 12:45pm
    Panelists George Larkins, Robin Michals and Emilie Boone
    Facilitated by Sara Woolley
  • Co-curated and organized by Sara Woolley & Emilie Boone
  • Exhibition Poster

About the exhibition:

Autograph’s pop-up photography display featuring 30 remarkable image panels, reproduced from rare 19th-century photographs portraying people of African, Caribbean and South Asian descent during the Victorian era in Britain.

Part of The Missing Chapter project, which aims to bring together a distinct body of photographs that showcases diverse ‘black presences’ in Victorian and Edwardian Britain, offering a unique portrait of black lives and migrant experiences during the decades following the birth of photography in 1839.

They portray a diverse range of people living and working in Britain at the time, from politicians to performers to service men and women. Their collective presence bears direct witness to the nation’s colonial and imperial history, and the expansion of the British Empire during the 19th and 20th Centuries.

These portraits reveal an important, complex black presence in Britain before the SS Empire Windrush steamship arrived in 1948, which is often cited as a key moment in the emergence of a multicultural British society.

Photographed in commercial studios in the latter half of the 19th century, many lay buried deep within the archives for decades, unseen for more than 125 years.

Collections represented include Autograph, Hulton Archive (a division of Getty Images), National Portrait Gallery, Royal Collection Trust as well as the private collections of Val Wilmer, Michael Graham-Stewart, Amoret Tanner/FotoLibra and Paul Frecker/Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography. 

More information about the project.