Antiquarian Auctions

SA Auction #94 begins on 30 Sep 2021

US Auction #9 begins on 30 Oct 2021

[White, J.]

Xhosa Warrior

Original Watercolour for Plate 21 in 'Sketches of some of the various Classes and Tribes inhabiting the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope and the Interior of Southern Africa'

Published: ca 1845

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230 x 160 mm (image area); 320 x 250 mm (with frame). Original pencil and wash dramatic illustration for Plate 21 ("Koosa [Warrior]") in 'Sketches of some of the various Classes and Tribes inhabiting the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope and the Interior of Southern Africa', which was published by W. Robt. & Lowes Dickinson in 1851. The picture is in good condition, somewhat age-toned, with a few fox spots. It can be supplied with or without the glass-fronted frame.

The story of the artist's discovery is a fascinating account of Africana sleuthing. Sidney Mendelssohn (Volume I, p. 291) does not venture an opinion on the 'JW' whose initials appear on the portraits, although a pencil note accompanying a folder of 'JW' drawings in Mendelssohn's possession attributed the works to a 'J. Walker'. However, Alfred Gordon-Brown, in his 'Pictorial Africana', settles the matter almost conclusively. Gordon-Brown met Richard Sawyer, the Africana dealer, who showed him a collection of typical drawings of Cape 'types' bearing the initials 'J.W.' "On the folder was written in old ink 'A collection of characteristic 24 sketches by J. White, Esq., Cape of Good Hope'. The provenance of the drawings was convincing; they came from the home of a titled gentleman in a Welsh village and had been auctioned in nearby Gloucester. So the mystery now seems to be at an end." - Pictorial Africana, pp. 36-39, 240-241; SABIB 4, p. 220

  • Overall Condition: Very good
  • Size: 230 x 160 mm (image)
  • Sold By: Christison Rare Books
  • Contact Person: Lindsay Christison
  • Country: South Africa
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Telephone: 041 371 4844
  • Preferred Payment Methods: EFT, Paypal
  • Trade Associations: SABDA, IOBA


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