|Condition:||Fair Condition, Hardcover with Dust Jacket|
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A striking feature of Tyrrell’s work as artist-recorder is her fascination with her sitters, who are portrayed as individuals in their own right, the traditional dress enhancing each sitter’s personhood. This enthralment she attributes to her father’s influence in the context of a childhood spent in an environment where Zulu tradition was still the norm in the early decades of the 20th century, “…I became objectively aware of the Zulus of some unfathomable quality… His (the Zulu’s) dress was different, his dances different and he lived a different lifestyle. He was part of our scene, an exciting part, especially when the village had any sort of outdoor celebration. The Zulus then would have their beef and their beer and round off the day with a full-dress ‘war dance’.”
Barbara Tyrrell is known internationally for her detailed costume studies of the traditional dress of the indigenous peoples of southern Africa.
Barbara Eleanor Harcourt Tyrrell was born on March 15th 1912 in Durban. Her father, who died while she was a small child, had occupied the post of assistant Magistrate and later interpreter in the Department of Native Affairs and had been stationed in various Natal towns, his final posting being to Eshowe, Zululand. Tyrrell’s grandfather was Frederick Fynney, interpreter and companion to the Zulu King Cetshwayo during the latter’s visit to Queen Victoria in 1882.