The Ethelbert Cooper Gallery for African & African-American Art will present the U.S. premiere of “Black Chronicles II,” an exhibition curated by London-based arts agency Autograph ABP that explores the presence of black subjects in 19th and early 20th century British photography.
The stunning mix of rare and mostly never-seen images depicts both ordinary and prominent citizens — artists, dignitaries, servicemen, missionaries, students, businessmen and international royalty — captured in portraits by professional photographers. “Black Chronicles II” will run from September 23 to December 11, 2015 at the Cooper Gallery in Harvard Square Cambridge, an easy 15 minutes from downtown Boston.
Developed through original research in the holdings of national archives and several private collections in the U.K. – primarily in collaboration with Getty Images’ Hulton Archive – the exhibition includes more than 100 photographs taken in studios across Britain before 1938. A majority of the photographs were made in the latter half of the 19th century, during the Victorian Era.
The exhibition’s focus is a newly rediscovered series of exquisitely rendered photographic portraits from Hulton Archive’s London Stereoscopic Company collection, featuring more than 30 portraits of The African Choir, which toured Britain between 1891 and 1893. Buried deeply in the archives for decades, these images are presented for the first time in 125 years, with a selection of original albumen cartes-de-visite (calling cards) that became popular collectibles in the late nineteeth century.
Though from a foreign country, and of a very different era, “Black Chronicles” speaks to audiences today – to our common humanity, to our ancestry, and to every cultural traveler’s fascination with the histories of people from other shores.
Photo from the http://www.coopergalleryhc.org/ website.