Faces of Perfect Ebony by
Publication Date: 2012-01-02
Though blacks were not often seen on the streets of seventeenth-century London, they were already capturing the British imagination. For two hundred years, as Britain shipped over three million Africans to the New World, popular images of blacks as slaves and servants proliferated in London art, both highbrow and low. Catherine Molineux assembles a surprising array of sources in her exploration of this emerging black presence, from shop signs, tea trays, trading cards, board games, playing cards, and song ballads to more familiar objects such as William Hogarth's graphic satires. Molineux's well-crafted account provides rich evidence for the role that human traffic played in the popular consciousness and culture of Britain during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and deepens our understanding of how Britons imagined their burgeoning empire.