As we release our Year in Focus e-book highlighting the best photography from 2014, we look back at some of the big stories of the year. The story of these uncovered photos was big news for our archive in 2014.
A collection of glass negatives documenting black cultural history in Britain in the late 19th century has been uncovered by the Getty Images Hulton Archive, after spending over a century untouched and unseen.
The stunning collection of images were discovered when charity Autograph – who strive for the visual representation of black culture in British society – approached the Hulton Archive to become involved with their Black Chronicles II project.
The findings are simply stunning and include portraits of individuals and groups, some dressed in traditional costume and even tribal wear, all incredibly well preserved. The African Choir, as the collective were known, visited Britain to perform for Queen Victoria in the 1890s and to tour Britain, but this is only part of their story.
Vice President of the Hulton Archive, Matthew Butson says, “Akin to an archaeological dig, we had certainly expected to find amongst our cavernous archive some fabulous pictures but as the project progressed, the quality and extent of the imagery discovered proved to be truly extraordinary. With original glass plate negatives bound in brown paper and string and unseen for over 120 years, the fact that these images have not only survived intact is remarkable and the detail and condition of the negatives was simply astonishing. The body of work unearthed provides a fascinating perspective with regards to Britain’s cultural heritage.”