Sarah* Forbes Bonetta is mother nine on my patchwork.
Originally named “Aina”, Sarah, a princess of the of the Yoruba, was born in 1843.
Her parents’ names are unknown, as are the names of her siblings who were all killed in the 1847 slave raid that made Sarah a captive.
It is believed she was intended for human sacrifice, but was saved by a British naval officer, Frederick Forbes. He took her back on his ship, the HMS Bonetta – hence her adoptive name.
She was ‘given’ to Queen Victoria as a gift.
Later, she married Captain James Pinson Labulo Davies, a wealthy Victorian Lagos philanthropist. They had three children, Victoria, Arthur and Stella.
She died, aged 37, from tuberculosis.
Photograph by Camille Silvy, 1862. Taken from the NPG leaflet, shown below.
* In some accounts she is named Sarah, and in others, Sara.