18 July 1892who travelled from her home in Liberia to London, bringing a silk embroidered 'Coffee Tree' quilt as a gift for Queen Victoria. The cabinet photo above was taken by one of the two photographic studios to produce and sell images of the celebrity visitor, whose trip and reception at Windsor Castle attracted public and media interest.
The Republic of Liberia, established by African-Americans in 1830, was recognised by Britain in 1847. Throughout the transatlantic world, Victoria would later be honoured for opposition to slavery and personally credited with having made British territory such as Canada a refuge for those escaping enslavement. On this occasion, Victoria relaxed diplomatic protocol to receive Martha Ricks as an individual, graciously welcoming her to Windsor, together with the widow of Liberia's first president, and formally accepting the gift.
The public attention may have facilitated this audience so soon after Ricks' arrival in the UK, as her visit was widely reported. It must also have been assisted by the equivalent of the Palace's press department, as the Graphic newspaper was allowed to send illustrator Reginald Cleaver to record the event, his image of the Court looking on as Ricks and Victoria shook hands being printed on the front page of the Daily Graphic, and a second view, from the opposite angle - where Ricks is shown from in front - on the weekend edition.
.Much more on Martha Ricks from Jeff Green here