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Water colours and sketches of southern Africa

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/RCMS 191

Scope and Contents

Water colours and pen and ink sketches documenting Anderson's travels in southern Africa, accompanied by his original captions and explanatory notes. Numbers 2-3, 7, 11 and 15 were missing when the collection came to Cambridge. Their captions and explanatory notes are included for research purposes.


  • Creation: 1868 - 1890

Conditions Governing Access

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Biographical / Historical

Little is known of the life of Andrew Arthur Alexander. A native of Scotland, he emigrated to southern Africa during the mid-nineteenth century, where he farmed in Natal. From 1860 he began exploring the country to the north and west, initially travelling through the Orange Free State, the Transvaal and Swaziland by waggon, and returned to Natal in 1863. Subsequent travels during the 1860s and 1870s took Anderson to the western Transvaal, the Kalahari, Bechuanaland and Matabeleland. In Cape Town in 1873 he published a 'Map of the interior of South Africa' based upon surveys he had conducted over a period of seven years. In 1878-79, he served with Major R.H. Buller's Frontier Light Horse during the Zulu War, probably hiring his waggon as transport. He visited Pretoria during 1879-81, sketching the town and military camps. Anderson was in England between 1884 and 1888, during which time he published another map, 'The interior of South Africa.' After a brief return to South Africa, Anderson finally departed for England in 1890. In 1891 he published an adventure story for children, 'A romance of N'Shabé : being a record of startling adventures in South Central Africa' (1891), written in collaboration with the novelist A. Wall.


180 item(s) (180 images) : art work

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

good condition

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Andrew Arthur Anderson in 1897.

Related Materials

Other collections of Anderson's art work are held in the Africana Museum, Johannesburg, and the Library of Parliament, Cape Town.


Much of what can be gleaned of Anderson's life and travels is taken from his book 'Twenty-five years in a waggon in the gold regions of Africa' (1887 and 1888 editions).


This item level description was created by MJC.


Anderson, Andrew Arthur, fl 1860-1890, explorer

2014-12-17 10:24:07+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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