This digital archive includes the copies of rock paintings made by polymath George Stow in the mid 19th century, as well as a selection of his field notebooks, letters and maps.

George Stow was an Englishman who relocated to the turbulent Eastern Cape in the early 1840s. He became interested in many aspects of South African history and landscape, undertaking extensive geological surveys, taking up various posts, publishing poetry, and researching and writing an extensive history of the ‘Native Races’ of southern Africa. He made several hundred copies of rock paintings, trekking thousands of miles across the countryside and interviewing San wherever he could on the meanings and use of the art. Today his copies are amongst the loveliest records of paintings, revealing as much about the rock art itself as about Stow and the ideas he had about them.

George Stow’s archive, housed mainly at the National Library of South Africa, Iziko South African Museum, the McGregor Museum and the University of Cape Town, includes astonishing collections of detailed maps, field notebooks, letters, drawings, manuscripts and painted copies of rock paintings and engravings. The digital archive includes selections of the maps, notes and letters, and all the extant rock art copies.