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Thomas Baines (1820 - 1875)

RA Collection: People and Organisations

English artist and explorer of British colonial southern Africa and Australia. Born in Kyng’s Lynn, Norfolk.

Baines was apprenticed to a coach painter at an early age. When he was 22 he left England for South Africa. For a for a while he worked in Cape Town as a scenic and portrait artist, and as official war artist for the British army during the Eighth Frontier War. In 1855 Baines joined Augustus Gregory’s Royal Geographical Society sponsored expedition across northern Australia as official artist and storekeeper. In 1858 Baines accompanied David Livingstone along the Zambezi, and was one of the first white men to view Victoria Falls.

From 1861 to 1862 Baines and James Chapman undertook an expedition to South West Africa. Chapman’s Travels in the Interior of South Africa (1868) and Baines’ Explorations in South-West Africa (1864), provide a rare account of different perspectives on the same trip. This was the first expedition during which extensive use was made of both photography and painting, and in addition both men kept journals in which, amongst other things, they commented on their own and each other’s practice.


Born: 27 November 1820 in King's Lynn

Died: 8 May 1875

Nationality: British

Gender: Male

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