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English Heritage has commissioned a series of portraits depicting six historic figures from the African diaspora whose stories have contributed to England’s rich history. Each artist has been supported by our curators and historians to creatively portray their subject. The full-length portrait, by Hannah Uzor, née Hasiciimbwe, is based on a photograph by Camille Silvy in the National Portrait Gallery in London. It depicts Aina in her wedding dress, its cream colour contrasting vividly with the deep turquoise background. Aina, later called Sarah Forbes Bonetta, was the daughter of a West African ruler, who was captured and enslaved by King Gezo of Dahomey (present-day Benin) at the age of five. In 1850 she was presented as a 'diplomatic gift' to Captain Frederick Forbes of the HMS 'Bonetta' and brought to England.
English Heritage, Osborne House
Aina, Sarah Forbes Bonetta Davies (1843–1880)
acrylic & fabric on canvas
H 120 x W 80 cm