The Denmark Vesey collection


A new appeal to preserve, catalogue and exhibit this significant private British collection


The Denmark Vesey collection focuses on the portrayal and caricatures of black people in advertising and art from the 1800s.

Over the past 30 years, London collector Femi Lewis has amassed hundreds of paintings, vintage posters, rare objects and artefacts which depict racial stereotypes and images used by brands through the ages.


This inflammatory collection, with its controversial, racist images of picanninies, black minstrels, dandies, “coons” and “sambos” (sic), reflects the dehumanising use and portrayal of black people  in advertising and art in a way that is taboo today, but was common, and accepted amongst white populations, in the 19th and 20th centuries.


We are now seeking sponsors and funding to allow us to catalogue, record, curate and exhibit pieces from this extraordinary and never before seen collection.


The London Coaching Foundation and Femi Lewis want to roll out a series of UK and overseas exhibitions based on this unique collection which includes oil paintings, contemporary art, rare objects, toys, ceramics and range of offensive ephemera.

Named after Denmark Vesey, the former Afro-American slave who planned an insurrection, this collection is of significant historical and educational value to schools, Universities and those who work in the fields of the arts, advertising and media.


To find out more please contact Susann Jerry at The London Coaching Foundation, email


Denmark Vesey (1767-1822) was an African American slave who bought his freedom, became a businessman and fought to liberate his people from slavery by planning an insurrection in Charleston involving more than 9,000 slaves and "free" blacks.

The revolution, planned for July 14, 1822, was crushed before it had even started and the leaders rounded up. Vesey and 46 others were condemned and on June 23 1822, Vesey was hanged.


 "Vesey's example must be regarded as one of the most courageous ever to threaten the racist foundations of America.... He stands today, as he stood yesterday ... as an awesome projection of the possibilities for militant action on the part of a people who have for centuries been made to bow down in fear.”  Cultural historian and author Sterling Stuckey