Antiquarian Auctions

SA Auction #106 begins on 13 Apr 2023

US Auction #15 begins on 03 May 2023

Richings (Gordon)


Published: Fernwood Press, Cape Town, 2006

Edition: Collectors edition.

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Collectors’ Edition: 224 pages, frontispiece portrait of Charles Mitchell, profusely illustrated in colour throughout, half morocco, decorated with a gilt vignette on the upper cover and titled gilt on the spine, contained in a grey cloth-covered slipcase decorated with a plate-sunk illustration, a fine copy.

‘In this detailed and meticulously researched account of the life and work of Charles Michell, the first surveyor-general and civil engineer of the South African Cape Colony, author Gordon Richings examines in depth, the many interests and achievements of the man, as well as the essence of the time in which he lived, by referring to unpublished personal diaries, sketchbooks and letters that are in the possession of Michell’s descendants in England. Born in Exeter, Devon in 1793, Michell showed artistic talent at a young age, but due to family circumstances, joined the British Army and served with distinction in the Napoleonic Wars in Portugal. He came to the Cape in 1829 and for the next twenty years played a crucial rôle in opening up the Cape interior to economic development and expansion, by designing roads, bridges and mountain passes, including Sir Lowry’s, the Houw Hoek, Montagu and Michell’s Passes. He also suggested improvements to Table Bay Harbour and designed lighthouses at Mouille Point, Cape Agulhas and Cape Recife in an effort to protect shipping along the Cape’s notorious coastline.

Editor’s note: This first biography of Charles Michell is lavishly illustrated with his sketches, watercolours and engravings of Cape scenery, plants, insects and rock paintings, as well as Cape personalities, maps of the colony and architectural plans – the majority of which are published for the first time. New light is shed on the socio-economic life at the Cape, particularly the Tsitsikamma region of the southern Cape, the Frontier War of 1834-35, as well as on the personalities of Michell’s colleagues and contemporaries in England and at the Cape.

The Life and works of Charles Mitchell is a beautifully produced work that pays tribute to a multi-talented man whose contribution and talents have been largely overlooked, and possibly overshadowed, by his more flamboyant and better-known contemporaries.’

This is number 48 of the Collectors' Edition limited to 100 copies and signed by Gordon Richings

  • Overall Condition: A Fine Copy
  • Size: Oblong 4to (245 x 280 mm)
  • 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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