Diallo’s story

William Hoare’s compelling painting of Ayuba Suleiman Diallo is the first portrait of a black African Muslim and freed slave. An educated man from a family of Muslim clerics in West Africa, whose family traded cattle and other commodities including slaves, in 1731 Diallo was taken into slavery. He arrived in London in 1733 where he mixed with high and intellectual society, was introduced at Court and was bought out of slavery through a public appeal. After nearly a year in England, he was one of the few victims of the transatlantic slave trade to return to his family in Africa.

Find out more about the history of slavery in Britain and the road to abolition here.

The portrait of Ayuba Suleiman Diallo is on long-term loan to the National Portrait Gallery, from the Orientalist Museum, Doha (OM 762). 

Diallo’s Portrait

Dr Lucy Peltz, 18th Century Curator at the National Portrait Gallery, introduces this extraordinary portrait painted by William Hoare.