I would not have had this opportunity of travelling to the Cape of Good Hope without the support of Bucknell University. I thank the office of the Provost for awarding me the Harold and Gladys Cook Travel Award; and I thank Harold and Gladys Cook for their enlightened recognition that scholarly work is imbedded in the rich, complex networks of ordinary living, and for funding interesting ways of making that connection. I have had a rewarding experience, which has also given me much food for scholarly thought.
I came to Lady Anne Barnard through Sir George Macartney, first British governor of the Cape Colony (1797-99), whose diplomatic writings and travels are a current subject of my scholarly research; and I had the pleasure of discovering in Lady Anne an adventurous, intelligent and fascinating person—full of wicked and wise wit—whose diaries provide wonderful insights into the people and places of the Cape Colony at the end of the eighteenth century. Following in her footsteps has been more than a historical or anthropological undertaking—though it has been that too. It has been a self-discovery, a meeting of new friends, and a reconnecting with old ones.
There is, of course, more to Lady Anne at the Cape than I have been able see and acknowledge in a two week sojourn.
There is the Castle of Good Hope (http://www.castleofgoodhope.co.za/), home to the Barnards from 1797 to about 1800, when they built their country house the Vineyard in the “new lands,” the present suburb of Newlands. Even in its present incarnation the Castle suggests what it might have been in the seventeenth and eighteenth-centuries.
There is the also the Vineyard itself, now a hotel (http://www.vineyard.co.za/), elegant, refined, relaxed–and nestling right under a sublime and ever changing Table Mountain. Here are a couple of Lady Anne’s watercolours of the Vineyard with my photos of it and the view from the back verandah.
A gallery at the Vineyard displays many of Lady Anne’s drawings, watercolours, and excerpts from her diaries and letters. The gallery alone is worth a visit to the old hotel.
But my journey in the Western Cape could never have happened as successfully and as pleasurably as it did without my old friend Michael D, whose interest, support, adventurousness, knowledge, and generosity made all the difference.
In a big old house bathed in the cool light of autumn—with its lovely gardens (showing its fall changes and colours), its chickens, cock, Egyptian geese, peahens, large rooms (some wonderfully filled with TV and computer screens and enough electronic wires to stretch from the Cape to Cairo)—we planned the details of our trip, and then recorded and discussed its various stages afterwards.
Thank you, Michael.