Below is a short write-up on the architectural style of our house

Saturday, 21 March 2015

HF Gros and his remarkable collection of early Transvaal Photographs

This blog entry is reproduced from a article in the Heritage portal written by Rod Kruger

Camera similar to the one used by H.F. Gros 1885

H Ferdinand Gros was of Swiss origin. He arrived in South Africa circa 1869. 

On July 16th 1870 he was advertising that the Photographic Salon 'will resume again' in the 'Burgherdorp Gazette'. 

In the 'Diamond News' on March 9th 1872 he announced that he was taking over the studio of Weber and Gros and that he would soon open a 'Superb Salon' at New Rush (Kimberley). The New Rush studio was advertised for sale in 'Diamond News' 13th April 1872. However, this sale appears not to have happened as in 'Diamond News' on October 8th and December 10th 1872 he was still advertising the New Rush studio. 

HF Gros' photographic studio in Pretoria

He visited the goldfields at Pilgrim's Rest and Mac Mac ('Diamond News' May 9th 1874 and February 13th 1875). He also visited Lydenburg goldfields. In 1877 he set up the 'Photographic Gallery' at the corner of Church Street and van der Walt Street, Pretoria. 

In 1877 he photographed the Transvaal Annexation Commission at Ulundi House, Pretoria. He also photographed scenes in Pretoria during the First Boer War, these were later bound in to the limited edition (200 copies) of 'News of the Camp' (1880-81).
News of the camp

He photographed Chief Sekukuni in 1879. Circa 1888 he made a photographic tour of the Transvaal. 
Picturesque aspects of the Transvaal - 1888

He returned to Europe in 1895 and his Pretoria studio was taken over by J. Perrin (Cowan 1978, pp.99-101).

Below is a small selection of wonderful photographs taken by Gros. Enjoy..

The men who took on Victoria's soldiers.
The men were:

Back Row:
1. Veldkornet L.P. Bezuidenhout, Potchefstroom
2. Kmdt. S.P. Grove, Middelburg
3. Asst. Kmdt. Generaal H. Schoeman, Pretoria
4. Kmdt. Henning Pretorius, Elandsfontein, Pretoria
5. Kmdt. Lewis Fourie, Lange’s Nek

Second Row
6. Kmdt. H.R. Lemmer, Potchefstroom
7. Kmdt. J.D. Weilbach, Potchefstroom en Lange’s Nek
8. Weesheer J.S. Joubert, Sen., Gijzelaar te Newcastle
9. Kmdt. J. du Plessis de Beer, Wonderboom, Pretoria
10 Kmdt. D.J. Muller. Leydenburg

Third Row
11. Kmdt. Hans Erasmus, Raad Huis, Pretoria
12. Generaal J.P. Steyn, Leydenburg
13. Kmdt. Hans Botha, Zwartkop Pretoria
14 Kmdt. G. Engelbreght, Standerton

Front Row
15. Veghtgeneraal J.M. Kock, Potchefstroom
16. Veghtgeneraal Frans Joubert, Bronkhorstspruit
17. Kmdt. Generaal J.P. Joubert
18. Generaal N. Smit

19. Generaal P.A. Cronje, Potchefstroom.

The same rifles, bandoliers and clothing can be seen on a few individuals, which indicates that they were studio props and not necessarily the property of the individuals on the photos. This fact has been overlooked by many researchers, who used this set of photos when researching Boer firearms.

Passenger and Government Mail Coach (circa 1888)

'Sticking Fast' - In the Six Mile Spruit near Pretoria (circa 1888)
Camping at Matocks
A timbered stope - Meyer and Charlton (circa 1888).
Harry Struben is wearing the bowler hat

Knights lake at Driefontein (circa 1888).
Again Harry Struben is wearing the bowler hat.

Struben Brothers Stamp Mill (circa 1885 )
Fred and Harry Struben - Confidence Reef Mine (circa 1885)

Native Labourers working on an incline shaft (circa 1888)

Hatherley Distillery near Pretoria (circa 1888)
Botanic Garden (Witpoortjie) falls (circa 1885)

Rod Kruger with a Gros album

Rod Kruger, Bull, Marjorie and Joseph Denfield (1970) 'Secure the shadow: the story of Cape photography from its beginnings to the end of 1870 '. Cape Town: T. McNally.
Cowan, N. (1978), 'Photograficana of H.F. Gros', 'Africana notes and news'. Volume 23, number 3, pp.99-104.
'Transvaal almanac 1877'.

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