The current condemnation of the depiction of a captive Black child led like an animal, and then chained running behind a carriage in Rex Whistler's whimsical mural in the Tate Britain restaurant is especially remarkable in that it has elicited no public attention hitherto, despite the well-publicised restoration of the 'Pursuit of Rare Meats' art work in 2013. I myself have never eaten in the [high-priced] restaurant, but had one known of these racist images efforts would have been made to view and condemn them.They are exceptionally offensive and really quite inexplicable in an allegedly pastoral scene.
The artist Rex Whistler, who died in WW2, was not related to his earlier namesake, the American James [Jimmy or Jem] McNeil Whistler, who settled in London in the 1860s, but both held racist views. Jimmy Whistler did not as far as I know depict Black figures in his paintings, but he boasted of assaulting a fellow-passenger on a transatlantic voyage. In telling the tale, Whistler dubbed his victim, from Haiti, 'the Marquis of Marmalade'. At the dinner table, Whistler first flung insults and then hit his fellow-traveller so hard that he injured his own hand. As a result, the ship's captain arrested Whistler and locked him in his cabin.
Whistler's explanation was that 'This passenger was simply a Negro among several forced upon our company on the voyage. The degree to which he offended my prejudices (as a Southerner) who for the first time found Negroes at the same table, led finally to our coming into collision.' The next day, when reproved for such disgraceful and 'ungentlemanly' conduct, Whistler hit the Captain with his uninjured hand, and was duly punched in the face and subdued in return.
Rex Whistler less combative, perhaps, but something about Black people stirred his prejudices. He inserted a Black coachman or footman into a fancy portrait of two upperclass young women, the Dudley Ward sisters, in 1933, historicizing the composition as an 18th-century picnic so as to evoke the social and visual difference of Black and White commonly deployed in earlier aristocratic portraiture.
And there is somewhere a mural depicting Circus performers, including a naked acrobat, which I've only seen in a photo of Rex by his pal Cecil Beaton, reproduced on a book jacket.