Forbes requested the little girl as a diplomatic gift, bringing her to England on his ship HMS Bonetta. A portrait of Queen Victoria's goddaughter has gone on display at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. Captain Forbes had visited the King of Dahomey as a representative of Queen Victoria, on a mission to negotiate the suppression of slavery. (Our Culture is Not For Sale! She is a perfect genius; she now speaks English well, and has a great talent for music. At age five her village was attacked and her parents killed. It was a wedding that was of national and international interest with people lining the streets to catch sight of the couple and the attending dignitaries. The picture of Sarah Forbes Bonetta, the daughter of a West African ruler, is on show as part of a plan to feature portraits of “overlooked” black figures connected with English Heritage sites. Use the controls below to choose different colour contrast options and background images for the site: To find out more about web accessibility, and the accessibility features of this site, please visit our web accessibility page. This website places cookies on your device so that we can improve our services and report to funders. Amy Zamarripa Solis is a producer, writer and artist from Austin, Texas. “What I find interesting about Sarah is that she challenges our assumptions about the status of black women in Victorian Britain. She has won the affections, but with few exceptions, of all who have known her. IN MEMORY OF PRINCESS SARAH FORBES BONETTA, WIFE OF THE HON J.P.L.
Creative activities you can enjoy at home. Queen Victoria became godmother to the seven-year-old, whom she described as “sharp and intelligent”, and paid for her education by missionaries in Kent and Freetown, Sierra Leone. Growing up, Sarah spent a lot of time visiting Queen Victoria and their household at Windsor Castle and was close friends with her daughter, . In 1850 the British naval captain Frederick Forbes arrived in Dahomey on an unsuccessful mission to persuade Gezo to give up the slave trade. . , a touring exhibition of Sussex visual artists (2018-19). Writing Our Legacy is an organisation whose aim is to raise awareness of the contributions of Black and Ethnic Minority (BME) writers, poets, playwrights and authors born, living or connected to Sussex and the South East. The remarkable life of Bonetta is being highlighted by curators at English Heritage who, on Wednesday, will unveil a new portrait of her by the artist Hannah Uzor – part of a project to commission and display paintings of black figures whose stories have previously been overlooked. Bonetta was introduced to Queen Victoria by Captain Forbes. She is buried in the British cemetery there.

Sarah Forbes Bonetta isn’t exactly a household name – I only first heard of her myself a few days ago – but the story of her life is so remarkable that it sounds like a fairytale.. Sarah was born in 1843 as a West-African Egbado princess of the Yoruba people in modern-day Nigeria.

Omoba Aina, as she was born, or Sally, as Queen Victoria nicknamed her.

She died in Madeira, aged just 37, after becoming sick with tuberculosis. But the Queen made sure she understood that she must marry in order to be maintained in the manner in which she was accustomed. La Cultura No Se Vende! She was married to Captain James Pinson Labulo Davies, a wealthy Victorian Lagos … Artist Hannah Uzor said Bonetta “challenges our assumptions about the status of black women in Victorian Britain”. Another is ancient Rome’s African-born emperor Septimus Severus who strengthened Hadrian’s Wall. Her father was killed in war when she was five and she was captured and enslaved by Gezo, the king of Dahomey, present-day Benin. Sarah Forbes Bonetta, (Sarah Davies), 1862, taken by Camille Silvy . Transported to England, Sarah lived at first with Captain Forbes’s family. Available for everyone, funded by readers. She is Director of This Too Is Real, an arts production and management company, specialising in arts, culture, heritage and diversity. A new portrait of Queen Victoria’s black goddaughter, Sarah Forbes Bonetta, is now on view at Osborne, the Hanover monarch’s beloved seaside home. Sara Forbes Bonetta, otherwise spelled Sarah (1843 – 15 August 1880), was a West African Egbado princess of the Yoruba people who was orphaned in intertribal warfare, sold into slavery and, in a remarkable twist of events, was liberated from enslavement and became a goddaughter to Queen Victoria. Bonetta was introduced by Forbes to Victoria who was charmed by her, describing her as “sharp and intelligent”. Uzor said she was drawn to Bonetta because of parallels with her own family and children, who share her Nigerian heritage. We employ Mosaic charity’s definition of Black to be ‘Black people’ and ‘mixed-parentage people’ including all those people whose ancestral origins are African, Asian, Caribbean, Chinese, Middle Eastern, North African, Romany, the indigenous peoples of the South Pacific islands, the American continents, Australia and New Zealand. The charity said: “Black history is part of English history and, while we know we have more to do, English Heritage is committed to telling the story of England in full.”. Her husband erected a granite obelisk-shaped monument more than eight feet high in her memory at Ijon in Western Lagos, where he had started a cocoa farm. A portrait of Queen Victoria's goddaughter has gone on display at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. The first born was named after Queen Victoria, who was given an annuity by the Queen and continued to visit the royal household throughout her life. Shortly before she was due to be sacrificed in the court of King Ghezo, she was saved by a British Captain, Captain Frederick E. Forbes of the Royal Navy who suggested she be offered as a present to Queen Victoria. Policies “Through my art, I’m interested in exploring those forgotten black people in British history, people such as Sarah,” said Uzor. Bonetta lived the rest of her life in Lagos and later Madeira, where she died of tuberculosis.

Today’s 100 Pioneering Women of Sussex blog post is written by guest blogger, Amy Zamarripa Solis and highlights the incredible story of Sarah Forbes Bonetta.
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The picture of Sarah Forbes Bonetta, the daughter of … Look at our collections in a new way and get up close with history.

The portrait of Bonetta goes on display at Osborne from Wednesday 7 October. This site uses cookies to help us track performance and improve our service. Sarah Bonetta continued to have a close relationship with Queen Victoria. Amy Zamarripa Solis is a producer, writer and artist from Austin, Texas. Her daughter received the news while visiting the Queen at Osborne. By using this site, you agree we can set and use cookies. News “We think visualising the past in this way is a good trigger for thinking about it.”. A unique and admired figure in history, she spent her life between the British royal household and her homeland in Africa.

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