WALKABOUT OF THE KING’S MAP
FRANCOIS LE VAILLANT IN SOUTHERN AFRICA: 1781-1784
BY THE CURATOR PROFESSOR IAN GLENN
Venue:Iziko South African Museum
Members R30, Non-Members R40
A unique map of South Africa produced 222 years ago and painted on silk for King Louis XVI, which has never before been exhibited, will form the centre piece of this exhibition. It is a record of biodiversity and animal distribution in South Africa which shows the routes French traveller and social critic Francois le Vaillant travelled and contains 66 illustrations of animals, birds and plants. It also includes panels showing the different indigenous people he encountered. Recognised as the first significant modern ornithologist, Le Vaillant spent the years 1781 to 1784 in southern Africa. He created a window on southern Africa through his writings, watercolours and maps that vividly depict both nature and human interaction at that time. Notably, Le Vaillant was a free thinking all-rounder, whose keen interest in the world included not only nature and art, but the social conditions experienced by the local people he engaged with.
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