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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Navigating the Topographical Drawing: The South African Journal of J.S. Dobie
Author:Bredin, Scott
Periodical:South African Historical Journal
Geographic terms:South Africa
History and Exploration
About person:John Shedden DobieISNI
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02582479808671328
Abstract:This article explores certain aspects of 19th-century colonial visual culture in South Africa, in particular, the topographical drawing in Natal. It has as its centrepiece the topographical drawings of John Shedden Dobie (1819-1903). He transcribed his 'South African Journal' from five original handwritten notebooks which served as highly portable combinations of sketchbook and diary. The bulk of the drawings which are the subject of this inquiry relate to Dobie's three treks, from 1862 to 1864, between Natal and Queenstown in the Eastern province. In examining the linked processes of waggon journey, narrative and drawing, the article focuses on issues pertaining to Dobie's navigation of unsurveyed territory. Two types of argument are put forward for the link between drawing and navigation. The first concerns the narrative of the journey. These arguments deal with the modus operandi of the artist/navigator, and they rely upon the evidence of the text, drawing and the connections between them. The second type of argument is premised on a distinction between the optical and the experienced world. These arguments follow a more philosophical vein and meditate on the processes of drawing itself. Ref.