PREVIEW: Black Chronicles: Photographic Portraits 1862-1948 @National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery has announced that an important display of images revealing many of the stories of Black and Asian lives in Britain, opening next month. 

Berto Pasuka by Angus McBean, 1947. (c)Harvard Theatre Collection, Harvard University. 

Black Chronicles: Photographic Portraits 1862-1948 has been organised in collaboration with Autograph ABP, a London-based arts charity that works internationally in photography and film, bringing together some of the earliest photographs of Black and Asian sitters in the Gallery’s Collection.

The free display running at the gallery from the 18th May until the 11th December, will feature over 40 photographs and highlight important and complex black presence before 1948 – an important moment in history when the Empire Windrush brought the first group of Caribbean migrants to Great Britain.

Black Chronicles is also an opportunity to highlight new acquisitions including a series of portraits by Angus McBean, of Les Ballets Nègres, Britain’s first all-black ballet company and a selection of photographs of the pioneer of classical Indian dance in Britain, Pandit Ram Gopal, by George Hurrell.

It is a chance to celebrate the individual stories of performers,dignitaries, politicians and musicians, alongside unidentified sitters, revealing the extent of the  diversity of representation within 19th and 20th century photography and British society, that is often absent from historical narratives of the period.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director, National Portrait Gallery said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with Autograph ABP and present this important display – bringing together some of the earliest photographs from our Collection alongside new acquisitions and striking images from Hulton Archive’s London Stereoscopic Company collection.”

Black Chronicles: Photographic Portraits 1862-1948 is a free display at the National Portrait Gallery from the 18th May until the 11th December. 



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