Table Mountain


This view of Table Mountain (Cape Town, South Africa) is from a set of 27 drawings on 15 sheets that was discovered in the National Library of South Africa in 1986. The drawings are important for presenting the earliest realistic depictions of the Khoikhoi, the original inhabitants of the Western Cape. This drawing, probably made from a ship moored off Robben Island, is one of the most accurate renderings of Table Bay from this period. The notes at the lower left, in Dutch, are keyed to the letters on the drawing, and read: “A. The Devil’s mountain, B. Table Mountain has been found after measurement to be more than 1800 feet (voeten) high, C. The Dutch fort, D. A pier where small craft may moor up.” The artist most likely was a Dutchman, born in the 17th century, who was attached in some capacity to the Dutch East India Company and possibly en route to the Dutch East Indies or on his way back to the Netherlands when he visited the Cape. Evidence suggests that the drawings were made no later than 1713, and possibly a good deal earlier. Most of the drawings have annotations, made by another person, also unidentified, after 1730.

Date Created

Subject Date


Title in Original Language

Zigt getekent uijt een schip voor de Kaap de Goede Hoop

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 drawing : black ink and wash on paper ; 22 x 38 centimeters


  • Also known as: View from a ship in front of the Cape of Good Hope. Reproduced as Plate 1 in The Khoikhoi at the Cape of Good Hope: Seventeenth-century drawings in the South African Library, text by Andrew B. Smith, from which this description is adapted.

Last updated: May 24, 2017