Samuel Daniell, an English artist and draughtsman, arrived in the Cape in December 1799 at the age of twenty-five. In 1801 he was appointed as the secretary and draughtsman for an expedition from the Cape into Bechuanaland.
Samuel Daniell (1775ï¿½1811) was a British artist on the P.J. Truter and William Somerville expedition of 1801-02 into the southern African interior.
Daniell arrived in the Cape on 9 December 1799. He was appointed by Lieut.-General Dundas, who became his patron and to whom the first volume of his book, African Scenery, was dedicated.
South Africa Holiday: A bushman hut, by Samuel Daniell
On this expedition, Daniell sketched the people and natural history that he found around the Orange (Gariep) River in what is now the Northern Cape.
On his return to England, with the assistance of his brother William and uncle Thomas Daniell, he used these sketches to produce thirty watercolours for his magnificent folio, African Scenery and Animals – one of the great plate books of the 19th century.
South Africa Holiday: Boers return from hunting, by Samuel Daniell
Daniellï¿½s ability to observe people and animals has seldom been equalled in the history of southern African art.
Daniell stayed for a period of about three months in the regions of the Orange River in what is now the Northern Cape.
Occasionally he inscribed his drawings with the identity of the subject, for other drawings it is usually possible to identify Tswana, Xhosa or Khoisan subjects by their dress or surroundings.
Daniell and the expedition first encountered Korana people (an offshoot of the Khoisan chiefdoms) on 4 November 1801 when they assisted the expedition in crossing the Orange River. Three days later they met with another group of Korana people who had also halted for refreshment.
South Africa Holiday: African hunters, by Samuel Daniell
On this occasion, Somerville described the characteristics of the people in detail in his journal. This ‘party consisted of the whole family of every age together with their cattle, sheep, houses and arms.’
There are many other references of meeting with Korana people in the journals of the expedition . According to the various accounts of the Somerville expedition, their interactions with Korana people are generally very warm and respectful, and there is no sense of hostility.
In Somerville’s own journal he repeatedly remarks on the helpfulness and honesty of the people. For instance, on one occasion on the banks of the Orange river, the ‘Koras living there who as usual brought milk and offered their assistance in crossing the river, to help our cattle and sheep over.’
In another instance, ‘some Kora [arrived] bringing with them four cattle that had escaped from our herd. This was another … example of the strict fidelity of the natives and was suitably rewarded.’
Daniell describes the differences and similarities between different clans and tribal groups in a caption to one of his prints:
‘Among the various tribes of the Hottentot race the Korahs, who dwell along the banks of the Orange River, have attained the highest degree of civilisation. Their circular huts are constructed with more care and regularity, and the mats with which they are covered are more firmly and neatly made, than what are found among other tribes.
They possess also a greater number and variety of utensils for domestic use; their vessels are sometimes made of clay baked in the sun, of wood hollowed out, and of gourds. Their clothing is not much different from the others, but their persons are more cleanly, owing probably to the abundance of water with which the Orange River is at all seasons, and more especially in summer.
Their animals consist of horned cattle, sheep, goats, and dogs. They have no kind of carriages, but, on their removal from place to place, their mats, their household furniture and utensils, are packed on oxen which, in addition, usually carry the women and children.’