The V&A collections include many representations of African people in a variety of media, ranging from painted portraits, prints and photographs to images in illuminated manuscripts, stained glass and heraldic devices, as well as material relating to the slave trade and abolitionism.
Africans in Medieval & Renaissance Art: Duke Alessandro de' Medici
Alessandro de' Medici (1511-37), was a member of the powerful Italian family of merchants, bankers, rulers, patrons and collectors, who dominated the political and cultural life of Florence from the 15th century to the mid-18th century. Although he was the first Duke of Florence, it is thought that Alessandro's mother was a Moorish slave.
Africans in Medieval and Renaissance Art: Heathen
The colour black has long been used to evoke a negative image, and the colour white a positive one. In the later Middle Ages, the persecutors of Jesus were sometimes depicted as black, perhaps with exaggerated features and images of the martyrdom of saints often showed the executioner as black.
Silver Service Slavery: The Black Presence in the White Home
Black Britons worked in a variety of professions; as sailors, shopkeepers, artisans, labourers, peddlers and street musicians, amongst others. The biggest employment sector for both white and black populations was domestic service and a large number of black people worked as servants, butlers, valets and other domestic helps.