Thomas Baines

Birth: 1820


THOMAS BAINES (1822-1875) was an artist and African explorer, was born in 1822 at King's Lynn, where his father was the master of a small vessel. After learning heraldic painting with a coach-builder, his love of travel led him to Cape Colony, where he arrived in 1842. From 1848 to 1861 he accompanied the British army in the Kafir war as artist, and in 1855 joined an expedition which was appointed under Mr. A. Gregory to explore North-west Australia. His energy and skill during this appointment secured for him the special thanks of the colonial government, and in 1858, at the recommendation of the Royal Geographical Society, he was appointed artist to the Zambesi expedition under Livingstone, whom he accompanied as far as Tete in the Portuguese territory.

In 1861 he joined Chapman in his expedition from the south-west coast to the Victoria Falls, when, besides making a complete route survey, and collecting much information for the naturalist and man of science, he made a large number of sketches and paintings. His drawings of the Victoria Falls, reproduced in colored lithographs, form a handsome folio published in 1865, Remaining in England till 1868, he then started in charge of an expedition to explore the gold-fields of the Tati. He mapped and wrote a valuable description of the route thither from the capital of the Transvaal republic. His last journey was amongst the Kafirs, everywhere carefully laying down his routes and making sketches of the scenery and people. On 8 May 1876 he died of dysentery at Durban, Natal, when preparing to explore the country north of the Tati.

[Journal of R. Geog. Soc. xlvi. cxli, &c., also xli. 100; T. Baines's Gold Regions of S.E. Africa, and his Explorations in S.W. Africa. To the latter a biographical sketch is prefixed by Mr. H. Hall, F.R.G.S.; and a French translation of the work by M. Belin de Launay was published in Paris in 1868.]

Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, by Robert Edward Anderson. Volume 02. pg. 441.

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