Another member of the African Choir, 1891. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
The African Choir were a group of young South African singers that toured Britain between 1891 and 1893. They were formed to raise funds for a Christian school in their home country and performed for Queen Victoria at Osborne House, a royal residence on the Isle of Wight.
At some point during their stay, they visited the studio of the London Stereoscopic Company to have group and individual portraits made on plate-glass negatives.
That long-lost series of photographs, unseen for 120 years, is the dramatic centrepiece of an illuminating new exhibition called Black Chronicles II.
Peter Jackson, 2 December 1889. Born in 1860 in St Croix, then the Danish West Indies, Jackson was a boxing champion who spent long periods of time touring Europe.
In England, he staged the famous fight against Jem Smith at the Pelican Club in 1889.
In 1888 he claimed the title of Australian heavyweight champion.
Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
“The portraits were last shown in the London Illustrated News in 1891,” says Renée Mussai, who has co-curated the show at London’s Rivington Place alongside Mark Sealy MBE, director of Autograph ABP, a foundation that focuses on black cultural identity often through the use of overlooked archives.
“The Hulton Archive, where they came from, did not even know they existed until we uncovered them while excavating their archive as part of our research project.”
The London Stereoscopic Company specialised in carte de visites – small photographs printed on cards that were often traded by collectors or used by performers for publicity purposes – and, as their name suggests, they were all in stereo which, when seen through a special viewer, gave the illusion of a three-dimensional photograph.