Settlement in the East Indies


This sketch 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. The sketch depicts a Dutch settlement in the East Indies, showing a street with buildings and trees. A similar drawing depicting the same structures in the Rijksprentenkabinet in Amsterdam has been ascribed to Cornelis de Bruyn (circa 1652–circa 1727). This drawing in pencil is the only one in the collection not in pen and ink or pen and wash. 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

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 drawing : pencil on paper ; 12 x 45 centimeters


  • Presented as Plate 22 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 Sumatran muntjac (INIL 6258v); number 6258 of a set: INIL 6250-6264.

Last updated: July 2, 2015