Negretti and Zambra, the models of Zulus at the Crystal Palace, early 1860s
Albumen silver prints
Groups of African 'Bushmen' and Zulus were presented on the London stage in 1852–53, an early example of a kind of entertainment that later became very popular. But they were quickly made to serve an educational purpose, illustrating notions of human development. In 1853, life-sized painted wooden models were made from body casts of some of them and placed in tableaux representing tribal life. These formed part of a display of the varieties of mankind in the Natural History Department of the Crystal Palace at Sydenham. After the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species in 1859, the visitor’s tour through this exhibit became a journey through 'the phases of human existence', from the primitive to the civilised.
Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford.