EDWARD DUNCAN, R.W.S. | Seaforth House, Simonstown, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa
15,000 - 20,000 GBP
- Edward Duncan
- Seaforth House, Simonstown, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa
- signed and dated E. Duncan 1836 (lower right)
- oil on canvas
- 62 by 87cm., 24½ by 34½in.
London, Fine Art Society, Spring, 1988, no.3
Edward Duncan did not travel to South Africa but executed at least two engravings of South African views after paintings by his father-in-law William Huggins (1781-1845), who painted the original of which the present picture is a copy. Duncan was a prolific painter who exhibited at the Royal Academy, and at the British Institution. A sale of his works at Christie's in 1885 took three days; and a sale of 1887 lists nearly 2,000 of his sketches and paintings. His works can be seen at most of the major museums and art galleries, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Portrait Gallery and the National Maritime Museum. Captain Thomas Talbot Harrington, of the East India Company, arrived in the Cape from England in 1814 and built a house which he named after his wife's uncle, the Earl of Seaforth. The Seaforth name lives on in Simonstown, with Seaforth Road and Seaforth Beach, and an area to the south of the town centre, also named Seaforth; as does Harrington's in Harrington Road, Seaforth. Harrington's time at the Cape was shortlived, and he moved to Calcutta in 1819. When Harrington left his original house was sold piece by piece, the original handsome gates are at St Joseph's College (Marist Brothers) in Rondebosch; and John Bardwell Ebden (1787-1873) bought the windows, doors and probably the columns which were incorporated in his house at Belmont, in Rondebosch, Cape Town. Ebden went to sea as a young man in 1803, sailing to China, before settling in Cape Town in 1806, where he began work in the Royal Naval Victualling Office. In 1808 he married Antoinetta Adriana Kirchmann, the daughter of an wealthy German immigrant businessman. He soon left his job and set up a wine merchant business, Ebden & Eaton. Richard Webber Eaton, his partner, was married to Ebden's sister Sarah Ebden in 1814. He built Belmont, Rondebosch, in 1836. This estate became his home and he lived there for the rest of his life. It is likely that Harrington commissioned this painting after his return to England.