Skip to main content

Graphite drawings and watercolor sketches of miscellaneous subjects, chiefly landscapes in South Africa., 1848?

 Item — Box: 1, Folder: 4
Call Number: MSS 11, Series III

Scope and Contents

Inscribed: "R.P. Norris." A piece of paper has been pasted onto the inside cover, with a note in ink reading, "Robert Provo Norris/Killed in Action 1851/ (Kaffir War)." Many of the sketches are dated 1848, which suggests that most of the content dates to this year.

Multiple sketches appear within the volume, including watercolor landscapes and graphite portraits. Norris depicts "Simon's Town, from the North Battery" in a particularly striking graphite landscape. He sketches a map (in graphite) labeled, "Post at Line Drift," a route (the Line Drift) which he traveled frequently while stationed at Camp Peddie. Norris's sketches are carefully observed, showing military forts and the surrounding natural settings in clear and vivid detail. Included are graphite portraits of Xhosa/"Kaffir" men and women, as well as a fine graphite portrait of a "Zolah Warrior" with shield and spear held aloft and a tall feathered headpiece. There are some more melancholy sketches of local African people in Western clothes, drinking liquor and looking destitute or debauched.

Both military and domestic architecture are shown in Norris's sketches, including parts of Cape Town, British forts, and a "Vicarage." He also features "Barnard Castle" in one highly finished drawing. Norris also tries his hand at comic sketches, perhaps imitating some of the content in his beloved "Punch" magazine, which was sent to him from his family at home in England.

A brief set of diary entries in graphite are recorded at the end of the volume, along with a newspaper clipping about the marriage of Captain P.W.P. Wallis, the brother-in-law of Robert Provo Norris's father, Rev. D.G. Norris, to Jemima Mary Gwyne.


  • 1848?


Physical Description

1 sketchbook (82 leaves) ; 11 x 21 cm

Conditions Governing Access

From the Collection:

The materials are open for research.

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Part of the Yale Center for British Art, Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

Department of Rare Books and Manuscripts
1080 Chapel Street
P. O. Box 208280
New Haven CT 06520-8280 US


1080 Chapel Street
New Haven , CT 06510

Opening Hours