['Black Americana.'] Complete set of four late-Victorian British chromolithographic plates, with stereotyped racist depictions of 'Sambo's Courtship', 'Sambo's Wedding', 'Sambo's First-Born' and 'Sambo's Baby's Christening'.

['Black Americana'; nineteenth-century racism; Victorian racist illustration]
Publication details: 
English (each print 'Copyright Entered at Stationers Hall'). Circa 1888.
SKU: 14972

The four plates (each 29 x 23.5 cm) are loose and unframed, in fair condition, aged and worn, with no margins, chipping to the edges, and with the corners cut off at a diagonal. Each title written in pencil in a contemporary hand on the reverse of the print, each with a price of '6d'. The subjects are not depicted in unattractive style, and are certainly not grotesques, but they are shown as 'simple', untroubled individuals, with the usual happy, gleaming brown faces and shiny white teeth. The 'humour' would appear to be intended to be found in the substitution in quintessentially English scenes of 'foreign' for English faces. This set is generally classed as 'Black Americana', but there are two reasons for assuming that it is of British origin. First, each plate is stated in the bottom right-hand corner to be 'Copyright Entered at Stationers Hall', and second, a report in the British Printer, 1888, notes that 'Two new series of humorous subjects are "New Renderings of Old Song Titles," each picture containing a puzzle, and "Sambo's Courtship," both highly amusing, and certain to furnish plenty of fun and amusement for the little ones'. Some are listed in "Black Americana: Price Guide: edited by Kyle Husfloen" Google) which appears to give incorrect information about the publishing date, and "American" printing, etc.