oa Historia - Robert H. Dingley : amateurkunstenaar van die Oosgrens (1813-1818)

Volume 37 Number 2
  • ISSN : 0018-229X



Robert Henry Dingley: Amateur Artist on the Eastern Frontier. Robert Henry Dingley was a British officer who served with the Cape Regiment on the eastern frontier of the Cape Colony from 1813 till 1817. He kept a journal which he illustrated with colourful drawings. Parts of this interesting journal are in the possession of the Merensky Library of the University of Pretoria. The part which deals with his experiences on the eastern frontier has unfortunately been lost. The drawings, however, have survived and are in the Africana Museum in Johannesburg. Dingley was stationed at various border posts which were erected along the Fish River after the Fourth Frontier War (1811-1812) to ward off attacks by the Xhosa. In Dingley's drawings the circumstances in which the soldiers and white colonists lived in that remote area of the Cape Colony are depicted, as are some aspects of wild life. In this respect Dingley's drawings are unique since British officers usually depicted scenes of battles or adventures whilst hunting only. Although amateurish, Dingley's drawings are therefore of considerable cultural historical significance. They confirm, to a large extent, the findings of travellers who visited the interior of the Cape Colony in the beginning of the 19th century. After the Cape Regiment was disbanded in 1817, Dingley returned to England.

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