Antiquarian Auctions

SA Auction #110 ends in

US Auction #16 begins on 18 Oct 2023

Dronsfield (John)


Published: Janda Press, Cape Town, 1956

Edition: Limited edition

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Limited edition: 1 page letterpress and 50 plates, publisher’s ticket on the front paste down end paper, light blue paper-covered boards with paper title label on the upper cover, the spine is faded, wiro bound, a good copy.

From the introduction: This is the second series of African Improvisations which John Dronsfield produced in the two years preceding his death in 1951. In this book which is wiro bound so that individual pages may be taken out, are 50 designs on the same African themes, reproduced in facsimile from fin-line drawings in India ink.

The limitation reads: This edition is limited to 80 copies of which 70 are numbered 1-70. and 10 numbered A to J. The number of this book is 46

Born John Marsden Dronsfield, in Lancashire, England and studied briefly at Manchester Art School. Otherwise he was mainly self-taught. In 1918 he enlisted in Young Soldiers' Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment and was discharged in 1919 as physically unfit.

In 1939 he emigrated to settle in Cape Town, South Africa where he built a reputation as an imaginative stage-designer for ballet and straight drama, and continued working as author and graphic artist, with his first one-man art exhibition taking place in Cape Town in the very year of his arrival, followed inter alia by an Overseas Exhibition of South African Art, at the Tate Gallery(1948) and the Venice Biennale (1950). Two Memorial Exhibitions were held for him: South African National Art Gallery, Cape Town (1955) and the Wolpe Gallery, Cape Town (1967).

He and his partner, the arts critic and author Denis Hatfield, kept a kind of open house for artists and worked closely together in the 1940s, particularly on his publications. His published art work and poetry include: Non-Europeans Only : Thirty-six Drawings by John Dronsfield in 1942 The Work of John Dronsfield edited by Denis Hatfield (Johannesburg: SA Architectural Record, 1944); and posthumously, Satires and Verses by John Dronsfield, edited by Denis Hatfield Bullough (Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 1955) and two portfolios of reproductions of his graphic studies, entitled African Improvisations.

He was a member of the International Art Club, South Africa and his work is held by a large number of public art collections. Sadly he committed suicide in 1951

  • Overall Condition: A good copy
  • Size: 4to (300 x260mm)
  • Sold By: Clarke's Africana & Rare Books
  • Contact Person: Paul Mills
  • Country: South Africa
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Telephone: 021 794 0600
  • Preferred Payment Methods: Visa & Mastercard via PayGate secure links and Bank transfers.
  • Trade Associations: ABA - ILAB, SABDA

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