The huge art collection, which includes pieces dating back as far as 500 years to the reign of King Henry VII, is being wake-tested in a move that could see many descriptions and captions rewritten. rooms. The initiative aims to include local place names in empire-related photos and to note the link between artwork subjects and the slave trade.
The art is on display in 13 palaces and is curated by the Royal Collection Trust, in its annual report the organization confirmed that it is updating ‘terminology’ around certain works of art.
The report said: “The curators continued to work to update terminology relating to race, slavery, empire and disability, reviewing a total of 2,500 object records on the system of management of collections during the year.”
Many paintings in the collection depict characters linked to the slave trade.
For example, a painting by Sir Thomas Picton – known as the Hero of Waterloo – had its description rewritten to include its links to the slave trade.
Additionally, the British Empire-themed photographs are updated with local place names to avoid offending. This includes photos from Edward Prince of Wales’ 1921 Indian tour and King George V’s 1881 world tour.
The curators have also added disclaimers to some photos explaining that more research is needed to identify the people in the photos and have worked to name others.
Speaking to The Sun, a source reportedly said: “In many cases, it is enough to change a caption to add the names of those involved and to change colonial place names to local ones.
“But it’s definitely done with an eye to how attitudes have changed in recent years.”
Other portraits in the collection are likely to offend the Awakened Brigade. For example, the family of former Prime Minister Sir Robert Peele profited from the cotton trade – a trade linked to slavery in the American South.
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During the tour, Prince William apologized for the UK’s role in the slave trade and said it should never have happened.
Royal Houses have started publishing figures that show what percentage of their staff are from an ethnic minority background.
The most recent figures show Buckingham Palace at 9.6%, while 10.6% of Prince Charles and Camilla’s staff are from an ethnic minority background.
Prince William and Kate’s household had the highest percentage of ethnic minority workers at 13.6%.
Buckingham Palace aims to achieve a diversity target of 10% by the end of this year.