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Albums compiled by Prince Albert, reflecting his beliefs surrounding photography

William Bambridge (1810-79)

'Sally Bonetta Forbes'; Sarah [Sally] Bonetta Forbes (1843-80)  1856

Albumen print | 13.8 x 10.2 cm (image) | RCIN 2800762

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Photograph of a three-quarter length portrait of Sarah [Sally] Bonetta Forbes (1843-80) seated, facing the camera front on. She poses with her hands held together in her lap. She wears a small hair covering, dark colour dress with lace collar and sleeves and a bracelet. On the left of the photograph Is a table covered in a textile. A bowl holding a textile is placed on the table.

Born in West Africa of Yoruba descent, Sarah Forbes Bonetta was captured in 1848, at the age of five, during the Okeadon War. While her family were killed in the war, as the daughter of an African chief, Sarah was kept in captivity as a state prisoner, either to be presented to an important visitor, or to be sacrificed at the death of a minister or official to become his attendant in the next world. In June 1850 Captain Forbes, on board the Bonetta, arrived in Dahomey on a mission to negotiate the suppression of the slave trade. While there, he asked the King for the little girl as a present, whether for himself or on behalf of the Queen is not clear. The request was granted and the child was brought to England, being given the names of Forbes Bonetta, after the Captain and the ship. On 9 November, she was taken to Windsor Castle and received by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The Queen paid for Sarah to be educated and saw her several times in the space of a few years.
  • Creator(s)

    William Bambridge (1810-79) (photographer)

    Sarah Forbes Bonetta (d. 1889)
  • 13.8 x 10.2 cm (image)

  • From an album of photographs collected and arranged by Prince Albert

  • Object type(s)
      • visual works
        • photographs