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The Black Chronicles Exhibition in a Box

ETT is proud to take Autograph’s The Black Chronicles Exhibition in a Box, on our national tour of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest‘. The exhibition is a pop-up photography display, showcasing studio portraits depicting sitters of African, Caribbean and South Asian descent during the Victorian era in Britain. The display is part of Black Chronicles – The Missing Chapter, an ongoing curatorial research programme led by Autograph, focused on unearthing nineteenth century photographs of black presences in Britain’s archives.

Read more about the exhibition and permanent collection HERE.




‘As a fascinating exhibition in the foyer of the Courtyard Theatre at Leeds Playhouse proves, there was a significant population of people of African origin living in the UK long before the Windrush arrived from Jamaica in 1948. The exhibition shows photographs of a diverse array of the black people – including a glamorously attired man known as the “Black Prince” – who were living in Victorian Britain.’ The Telegraph
‘On the way into the theatre there is a pop-up display of Victorian photographic portraits. The sitters are stiff in that slow shutter-speed way, holding their gaze in their top hats, frock coats and crinolines. They are all people of colour and, as the curators have it, are a “missing chapter”.’ The Guardian
‘It’s accompanied by an exhibition showcasing studio portraits of African, Caribbean and South Asian people of the Victorian era in Britain. Those sitting for the portraits are servants and politicians, entertainers and servicemen and women. People of colour existed in the Victorian period – as did LGBTQ+ people – so the decision to have an all-Black cast in this production should be viewed in the same light as the lesbian relationship: completely normal.’ The Stage