Notes on Architectural Perspective


These elementary architectural sketches with extensive notes are 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 people, the original inhabitants of the Western Cape. 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. Unlike most of the drawings, which have annotations in Dutch made by another person after 1730, the text on this page appears to be by the artist, presumably in his own hand. The notes contain observations on the use of perspective by artists and master builders and the differences and similarities in the methods used by each profession.

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Physical Description

1 drawing : pen and black ink on paper ; 30 x 20 centimeters


  • Reproduced as plate 27 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. On verso of Cape vultures (INIL 6257); number 6257v of a set: INIL 6250-6264.

Last updated: July 2, 2015