Landscape and Notes on Shading and Perspective


This sketch showing a landscape with mountains, farm buildings, and a European man 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 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 shading and perspective from an artist’s viewpoint, with particular emphasis on the brightness of the midday sun. It is not clear whether the scene depicted is at the Cape or in Southeast Asia.

Date Created

Subject Date


Type of Item

Physical Description

1 drawing : pen and black ink and wash on paper ; 32 x 21 centimeters


  • Reproduced as Plate 26 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 recto of Settlement in the East Indies (INIL 6262v); number 6262 of a set: INIL 6250-6264.

Last updated: July 2, 2015