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Royal Commonwealth Society : Zulu warrior, Banganoma, Zululand

Tyrrell, Barbara (1912-2015)

Royal Commonwealth Society

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Barbara Eleanor Harcourt Tyrrell was born in 1912 in Durban and grew up in Zululand. Her father was an assistant magistrate and later interpreter in the Department of Native Affairs. Tyrrell trained as an artist at the University of Natal during the 1930s and worked for a time in London on fashion drawing. She returned to South Africa and settled in Richmond. Her interest in the rich and diverse dress and adornments worn by the peoples of southern Africa inspired her to document them at a time of increasing modernisation and westernisation. Tyrrell embarked upon her first field trip in 1934, and by the 1960s had recorded the costume and customs of virtually all of southern Africa's peoples. Today, a large body of Tyrrell's work forms part of the Campbell Collections at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The watercolour is one of sixty original watercolours by Barbara Tyrrell which were presented to the Royal Empire Society by Dr Killie Campbell and Mrs Gladys Hepburn in 1950. The watercolours each measure 280 x 380 mm and are accompanied by detailed captions by the artist, which we have faithfully reproduced.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>One of the indunas or headmen who stood guard at the Royal dais during the dance which was given in Eshowe in 1947 in honour of the Royal Family. Plumes in traditional style for Zulu dancing dress, the wearing of them on the arms being, however, a modern fashion. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The animal skin kilt is true to type, a panel of skin being worn at the back, strips in front and bunches of “tails” on each hip. These “tails” are made of strips of skin bound spirally down a central thong. The shield is the three-quarter size used for dancing. The band of beadwork represents engagement, according to the fashion of the district. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>See Janus record <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>here</a></p>

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