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The Chief S.O. Alonge Photographic Collection: Royal Court of Benin photographer, Nigeria, 1926 – 1989

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Presentation delivered by Amy Staples, Senior Archivist at the Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives, National Museum of African Art, at the Smithsonian Archives Fair on October 22, 2010 in Washington, ...

Presentation delivered by Amy Staples, Senior Archivist at the Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives, National Museum of African Art, at the Smithsonian Archives Fair on October 22, 2010 in Washington, DC.

The Chief S.O. Alonge Photographic Collection: Royal Court of Benin photographer, Nigeria, 1926 – 1989
Delivered at the Smithsonian Archives Fair by Amy J. Staples, Senior Archivist, Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives, National Museum of African Art on October 22, 2010 in Washington, D.C. As Royal photographer to the Oba (king) of Benin, Akenzua II (1933-1978), Chief S.O. Alonge documented the ritual, pageantry, and regalia of the Obas, their wives and retainers for over a half-century. This presentation showcases the Chief S.O. Alonge photographic collection and efforts to preserve the glass plates, large format negatives, photographic albums and hand-colored prints through Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund (CCPF) in 2009 and 2010. The Chief S.O. Alonge collection will be showcased in a major photographic exhibition at the National Museum of African Art in 2012.

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    The Chief S.O. Alonge Photographic Collection: Royal Court of Benin photographer, Nigeria, 1926 – 1989 The Chief S.O. Alonge Photographic Collection: Royal Court of Benin photographer, Nigeria, 1926 – 1989 Presentation Transcript

    • The Eliot Elisofon Photographic ArchivesNational Museum of African Art
    • Chief Solomon Osagie AlongePhotographer to the Royal Court of Benin, Nigeria
      S.O. Alonge seated outside his studio wearing formal attire and spats.
      Benin City, c. 1942 (self-portrait)
    • Benin Chief with his traditional (extended) family,
      celebrates his title taking, n.d.
    • Visit of Earl of Plymouth (second left) to the Oba of Benin (center) at the Oba’s palace, 1935
    • Oba Akenzua II with his queens, the Iloi,
      Benin City, 1956
    • Oba Akenzua II greets Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip
      on Royal Visit to Benin City, 1956
    • Ideal Studio portraits
    • Preliminary survey of the Alonge collection
    • Bonsai Fine Art: packing and shipping the Alonge collection
    • Packing the glass plates for shipment to the Elisofon Archives
    • Phase I: Preservation and duplicationof Alonge glass plate negatives and film negatives
      Collections Care and Preservation Fund Smithsonian Institution, 2009
    • S.O. Alonge glass plate negatives
    • Archival four-flap enclosures and slotted boxes for glass plate negatives
    • Conservation sink mats for fragile glass plates
    • Inspection and inventory of glass plate negatives, NEDCCinterpositives and duplicate negatives
    • NEDCC:Duplication and digitization of 120mm film negatives
    • Inspection and inventory of original120mm film negatives, NEDCC interpositives and duplicate negatives
    • Phase I
      Preservation survey:
      Alonge vintage photographs and photo albums
      Collections Care and Preservation Fund
      Smithsonian Institution, 2009
    • Preservation survey:
      Alonge artifacts
      Collections Care and Preservation Fund
      Smithsonian Institution, 2009
    • Phase II:Preservation of photographic albums and prints
      Collections Care and Preservation FundSmithsonian Institution, 2010
    • Exhibition plans:
      Chief Solomon Osagie Alonge
      Photographer to the Royal Court of Benin, Nigeria
      National Museum of African Art
      February 2012 – August 2012
    • S.O. Alonge
      Early Years
      1930s – 1940s
      Ideal Photo Studio, Benin City
    • Ideal Studio portraits
    • Picturing a New Society
      Benin Social Life
      1930s – 1950s
    • Prize winner, c. 1939
    • Royal Court Photography 1933 - 1978
    • “Interior of the Royal Palace, destroyed in a fire, bronzes on the ground”.
      Unknown photographer, Benin City, 1897. Pitt Rivers Museum, U. of Oxford.
      PRM 1998.208.15.11
    • Oba Ovonramwen on way to exile, on board Ship Ivy, J. A. Green, c. 1897
      Alonge copy negative Himbury allbum 1995-0024-0031
    • Benin plaque (82-5-3) Benin king (85-19-12)
    • Commemorative objects:
      Photographs in other mediums
    • Commemorative cloth, Funeral Oba Akenzua II, 1978 (2004-10-4)
    • In Memory of….
      Alonge commemorative objects
    • The End