Thomas Baines

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Thomas Baines (1820-1875):

Famed traveller and painter in Southern Africa, who accompanied Livingstone in 1858 and was the first to paint the Victoria Falls. The first official war artist in South Africa (Eastern Frontier war 1850-53), whose journals, sketches and paintings form a valuable record of the times.

His well-known painting of a Xhosa "ntsomi" telling a story is one of few records of earlier indigenous performance forms.

He was also a prolific and admired scene painter for Sefton Parry and other theatre groups in Cape Town, not only painting scenery and backdrops, but on occasion providing "mechanical arrangements" for shows. He is credited for example with spectacular settings and mechanical help for productions of the nautical dramas such as The Lost Ship and The Dream at Sea in 1860, The Lonely Man of the Ocean in 1861, .

He painted a backdrop illustrating "Discovery of the SA Goldfields" for the revamped Oddfellows Hall when Disney Roebuck changed it to the Bijou Theatre in 1875.


F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [1].

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik.

Jill Fletcher. 1994. The Story of Theatre in South Africa: A Guide to its History from 1780-1930. Cape Town: Vlaeberg.

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