Red Coats and Black Shields

Race and Masculinity in British Representations of the Anglo-Zulu War

in Critical Survey
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In its review of the Grosvenor Gallery’s June 1880 exhibition, the Victorian society magazine The Queen juxtaposed reproductions of Carl Haag’s A Zulu (1880) – a striking profile of a black male warrior – and S.M. Fisher’s portrait of Ethel, Daughter of W. H. Peake, Esq. (c.1880) – a young white girl seated and demurely facing the viewer. The magazine’s readers would have been struck at once by the contrasts between the two images: one body, male, adult, black and in a ‘savage’ state of undress; the other, female, child, white and properly attired in so many respectable layers of clothing that only her face remains uncovered. According to The Queen, the figures in these two works ‘represent respectively Barbarism and Civilisation, each in the highest types’