Saturday, 5 April 2014


A new account of the life of Sarah {Ina} Bonetta Davies, the West African girl brought to Britain by Capt Forbes, RN, and effectively adopted by Queen Victoria, will be soon broadcast on BBCWORLD.  It sounds truly fascinating, with a wealth of new information obtained in Nigeria including interviews with descendants of Sarah and her husband James Davies, by presenter Zeinab Badawi, who was born in Sudan.

For the record, another new photograph of Sarah has been discovered.

Hitherto the main known images are those taken by the London photographer Camille Silvy shortly after Sarah & James were married in 1862, surviving as contact prints in Silvy's reference album in the National Portrait Gallery.  The new discovery was taken by the Brighton photographic studio Merrick just before their wedding at St Nicholas church there, and was ordered by Queen Victoria as a carte-de-visite for distribution to friends and admirers.  It shows Sarah wearing a fine silk crinoline with pagoda-style sleeves, holding what looks to be a  feather-trimmed hat of the latest fashion.

Left:  Badawi and her cameraman with curator Constantia Nicolaides, NPG Photographs department, alongside the Silvy album 

See also here for Zeinab's visit to Lagos State Archive

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