Ayuba Suleiman Diallo (1701-1773)
Hazel Singer sends this bio:
The British historian, Simon Schama, has a new book and BBC series out called The Face of Britain: The Nation Through Its Portraits. One of the portraits he features, currently on exhibit at London's National Portrait Gallery, is described as the first portrait of an African in Britain. The key word here is 'portrait': there were depictions of Africans in Britain (see the blog post Early Black British on 9/6/13) earlier than this. The portrait is of Ayuba Suleiman Diallo, an aristocrat who was enslaved by Mandingoes and who ended up in Maryland. With assistance from numerous people who learned of his plight, he eventually made his way to Britain and then back to his homeland in what is now Senegal. His story is awe-inspiring and most unusual for its time.
This portrait was painted by William Hoare of Bath, England in 1733, a year before Diallo returned to Senegal.