DANIELL, Samuel (1775-1811)
London: Published by Samuel Daniel, 1804. Aquatint, coloured by hand, backed, with two skilfully repaired tears into image area. Image area: 12 3/4 x 17 3/4 inches. Sheet size: 17 1/4 x 21 3/4 inches.
A stunning aquatint from Samuel Daniell's celebrated work, "African Scenery and Animals at the Cape of Good Hope".
Samuel was the younger brother of the famous topographical painter William Daniell, and the nephew of Thomas Daniell: the least known because of his early death, but Thomas Sutton considered him 'the most inspired and original of the three.' Samuel evidently developed a keen interest in natural history and an insatiable desire to travel, a combination which inspired him to follow in his brother's footsteps. Soon after the first British occupation of South Africa, Daniell left England for the Cape of Good Hope, arriving in December of 1799.
His affable nature and considerable artistic skills earned him an appointment as artist on Truter's expedition. The party set off in October of 1801 to explore the northern and eastern regions of the Cape Colony. The area, which included the Moloppo and Kuruman rivers on the border of Botswana, was relatively uncharted at that period and the expedition discovered many new specimens and geographical features which had gone unnoticed by earlier European explorers. Daniell himself discovered the source of the Kuruman river, known as the "eye," which has become one of South Africa's most celebrated natural wonders. His own keen eye and quick pen allowed him to make numerous sketches whilst traveling through South Africa, sketches which were used in his two seminal books African Scenery and Animals at the Cape of Good Hope published between 1804 and 1805 (in two volumes with coloured plates, at £21), and Sketches representing the Native Tribes..of Southern Africa , published in 1820 with uncoloured plates.
Thomas Sutton writes of the present work: 'The coloured plates represent local scenery, animals singly or in groups in their natural surroundings, native types, and views of kraals' (p.107). He goes on to sum up the achievement of the work: 'It may safely be said that never before had drawings of animals been presented so beautifully in their natural scenery. Particularly fine are the plates of the gnu, springbok, and the hippopotamus. The landscapes are equally fine, those of Sitsikamma, with the interlacing jungle trees and elephants watering, the Hottentot Kraal, and the Korah Hottentot Village being lovely things. Apart from these, such plates as the Halt of a Boor's Family and Boors returning from Hunting are valuable records of early itinerant life in South Africa ... [In this work, Samuel Daniell] shows full control over his medium: his freshness of approach is apparent; his composition and colour are full of beauty; his animals are delicately drawn, his figure-studies full of life and sincerity and warmth' (pp.107 -111).
Cf. Abbey Travel 321; cf. Lowndes I, p.588 (incorrect publication date); Mendelssohn I, p.411; Nissen ZBI 1035; T. Sutton The Daniells Artists and Travellers 1; Tooley 168.