The Life and Work of Charles Bell. Including The Art of Charles Bell: An Appraisal by Michael Godby.
Vlaeberg South Africa, Fernwood Press, no year (c.1998). 28 cm x 24.5 cm. Frontispiece, 176 pages. Numerous coloured and monchrome illustrations. Hardcover / publisher’s original half leather with slate gray boards. Gilt lettering on spine with raised bands. Gilt pictoral on front board. Housed in grey cloth-covered book case with coloured vignette on front board. Fine, absolutely excellent condition throughout. Interior in excellent condition. Hand-numbered 21 of a collectors’ special edition of only 100 copies. Signed by author on the certification page. Presentation inscription in calligraphy to Christopher Robin White. Front endpaper beautifully embossed. Superbly produced work.
Includes, for example, the following: The Immigrant / Towards Capricorn / Civil Servant / Surveyor / ‘A Multifarious Life’ / Return to Scotland etc.
Charles Davidson Bell (1813-1882) was born in Scotland, and arrived at the Cape in 1830, at the invitation of his uncle, Colonel John Bell, who was then Colonial Secretary. The young man sketched local Cape Town scenes and personalities with a humorous and perceptive eye. At the age of twenty-one, he joined Dr Andrew Smith’s “Expedition for Exploring Central Africa” with the task of keeping a pictorial diary of the expedition by sketching the landscapes and the indigenous peoples they encountered.
After his return from this expedition, Bell worked in various government departments and in 1838 he commenced in the survey department, becoming, in 1848, Surveyor-General of the Cape.
A versatile and talented artist, Charles Bell also mastered the art of wood-carving and wood-engraving, and was the designer of the Cape triangular postage stamp and of various coats of arms, including those of the South African College and the Old Mutual Insurance Company.
(Bell’s profile available online from the University of Cape Town Libraries Digital Collections)