In the first article about Thomas Baines’ (1820–1875) paintings of expeditions in Australia and Africa, I left with some of the lithographs made from his paintings around Victoria Falls, published when the artist and explorer was recovering his health back in Cape Town.
In 1868, he painted this view from his expedition in North Australia, showing Aboriginal Canoes Communicating with the ‘Monarch’ and the ‘Tom Tough’, 28 August 1855. This shows Augustus Gregory’s exploration of the Gulf of Carpentaria, south of Prince of Wales Island. The canoe is approaching the stern of the schooner Tom Tough, which was commanded by Captain Gourlay. Canoes are also approaching the barque Monarch in the left distance.
Baines published this drawing of Boat Building on the Logier River in 1868. It shows his party making wooden vessels for use on the Logier or Gongobujo River near the Zambezi below Victoria Falls, during one of his earlier expeditions there.
From 1869, Baines became involved in gold prospecting. He led an expedition to what was then Mashonaland, later Rhodesia, and now Zimbabwe, looking for suitable sites. This was followed by him being granted a concession to explore for gold by Lobengula, the leader of the Matabele nation, a project which he was still working on when he died unexpectedly.
Baines painted this Matebele Warrior in Dancing Dress in 1870 during his visit to Matebeleland.
His later paintings were all made when he was working in South Africa.
Dead Buffalo (full grown but not old bull) King Vulture and Common Vultures was completed in 1873.
The following year, he painted this Wagon Crossing a Drift – Natal (1874).
Baines painted quite a few maritime and historical works, including this reconstruction of The Landing of the British Settlers of 1820 in Algoa Bay (1874), the site of what is now Port Elizabeth.
This view of Koodos, Luisi River, Zambezi Valley (1874) was probably painted from his expeditionary sketchbooks. Kudu are one of two similar species of antelope, with their distinctive corkscrew horns. As this is likely to show southern Africa, these are more likely to be Greater Kudu.
One undated painting shows Barton Hottentot Kat River Levy. The Kat River is in Eastern Cape Province, and it’s perhaps appropriate that it feeds the Great Fish River. This appears similar in style to his early paintings from 1848.
When he was working on his plans to return to Matebeleland to prospect for gold, staying at his cousin’s house in Durban, Thomas Baines contracted dysentery and died there. He had quite a career for a coach-painter.