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Who was Robert Jacob Gordon?
Gordon's writings and drawings
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Who was Robert Jacob Gordon?
When he committed suicide in 1795 Colonel Robert Jacob Gordon had spent just short of twenty years at the Cape. During that time he had amassed an enormous quantity of material, both visual and verbal, concerning the topography, fauna, flora, meteorology, geology and inhabitants of South Africa which, taken together, give an astonishingly complete and detailed overview of the country during the final decades of the Dutch East India Company's regime. His achievement is all the more remarkable in that he collected and classified it almost single-handedly, showing equal skills as a botanist, zoologist, ethnographer, linguist, geologist, cartographer and draughtsman, assisted only by a small group of untrained servants and semi-skilled soldiers.
This outstanding representative of the European Enlightenment was baptised in the Dutch Reformed Church at Doesburg, in Gelderland, on 29th September 1743. His Scottish forebears had come to the Netherlands in the early 17th century, and had flourished there. His grandfather had been burgomaster of Schiedam; and his father had chosen a military career, eventually rising to the rank of Major-General in the Dutch army’s Scots Brigade into which young Robert, the sixth of his seven children, was enrolled at the age of ten. After two years at Harderwijk University, apparently without taking a degree, Gordon returned to the brigade in 1761 and was soon promoted to lieutenant and then captain.
Little is known about Gordon's first trip to the Cape in 1773-74, apparently made at his own volition, during which he travelled as far east as Mossel Bay and at least as far as the Berg River estuary in the north west. On his return to Holland he frequented scientific and Enlightenment circles in The Hague until, in 1776, he was commissioned into the Dutch East India Company’s army and posted to Cape Town as second-in-command of the garrison there. Arriving in mid-1777, he almost immediately undertook a second, extensive, exploratory journey which he assiduously recorded in daily entries in his travel journal. This was followed by by two more during 1778-79 equally well documented. By the time the fourth Anglo-Dutch War broke out in 1780 he had already travelled over the greater part of the colony and had established most of the course of the great river which then formed its northernmost border and to which he gave the name Orange in honour of the Stadholder Willem V. He described and dissected hundreds of indigenous animals and plants, had measured drawings made of them, and sent their details to correspondents throughout Europe. He also learnt the principal Khoisan and Bantu languages and dialects, as well as recording the customs and religious rites of these and other indigenous peoples.
There is some evidence to suggest that Gordon had been asked to send detailed reports about the colony directly to the Stadholder; but the only surviving writings in which he attempted to synthesise his observations are his letters to Willem’s principal advisor, the griffier (or secretary of state) Hendrik Fagel. For the rest, he codified his material on his Great Map, which was by far the most accurate to have been produced until well into the nineteenth century. Although many of his contemporaries believed him to be preparing a publication about South Africa, it would appear that his military duties, especially during the Anglo-Dutch war prevented him from achieving this.
Gordon took full command of the Cape garrison in 1780 and was promoted colonel in 1782 – a higher rank than any of his predecessors had enjoyed. After the end of the fourth Anglo-Dutch War he was able to make a fifth and final voyage, from November 1785 to March 1786, in which he seems to have mainly been concerned to correct his former measurements and observations with an improved quadrant and other equipment. But the revolutionary uprisings in The Netherlands from 1786 and in France from 1789 bred political uncertainty necessitating greater military vigilance. Ultimately the colony was caught unawares after the French invasion of the Netherlands and the Stadholder’s flight to London in 1795. When a British force arrived at the Cape that year claiming to represent the Stadholder, Gordon was torn between his deep loyalty house of Orange and his duty as employee of the Dutch East India Company which, to his dismay, he discovered to be subject to the French-controlled Batavian Republic.
After his death his widow attempted to sell his papers in London and to publish them in Paris; but to no avail. Having spent almost a century in a British collection, Gordon’s collection of visual material, consisting of 455 drawings and maps, mainly in watercolour and extensively annotated, were acquired for the Rijksmuseum in 1914. In 1979 his travel journals and other papers were purchased by the Brenthurst Library in Johannesburg. These texts and images are now reunited on this website with other material relating to Gordon.
Gordon's first journey, in 1773-1774, was undertaken before he entered the Dutch East India Company's service and no journal of it is known to have survived.
Second Journey, October 1777 to March 1778: from Cape Town to the Sneeuberge and the eastern frontier; then north to the Orange River, returning along the south-eastern coast.
Third Journey, August 1778 to January 1779: to the eastern frontier with the Governor van Plennenerg, and onwards towards the Orange River; then, after leaving Plettenberg, across the Great Karoo and the Roggeveld to the west coast and thence south to Cape Town.
Fourth Journey, June 1779 to January 1780: from Cape Town north through Namaqualand to the mouth of the Orange River; then inland along that river with excursions to the north of it before returning through Namaqualand.
Fifth Journey, November 1785 to March 1786: from Cape Town north up the west coast to the Jakkals River; then east across the Roggeveld and the Great Karoo to Algoa Bay, returning along the south-eastern coast.
Gordon's Writings and Drawings
The vast majority of Robert Jacob Gordon's surviving manuscripts and drawings are kept in three depositories. The Brenthurst Library in Johannesburg and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam house manuscripts, maps and drawings that Gordon's widow brought to Europe after her husband’s death; the Dutch National Archives (Nationaal Archief) in the The Hague preserves letters written by Gordon to the griffier Hendrick Fagel as well as a group of seven panoramas and maps (all of them duplicated in the Rijksmuseum's holdings) which are almost certainly those Gordon sent to the Stadholder Willem V. All of this material (with the exception of the Nationaal Archief's panoramas and maps) is now available on this website in the form of high resolution scans made from the original items. In addition, all the inscriptions on the Rijksmuseum's drawings and maps are transcribed and translated into English, as are all Gordon's letters to Fagel. From the Brenthurst papers, Gordon's four surviving travel journals (there is none for his first journey) are also available in both transcription and translation, as are transcriptions and/or translations of some of the more complete MSS, including Gordon's notes on Khoekhoen and San customs and a compilation of notes on animals. It is hoped to add further transcriptions and translations of the remaining Brenthurst MSS in due course; in the meantime users can read them directly from the scans in the section Untranscribed Manuscripts.
Further material by or associated with Gordon (mainly miscellaneous single items) is in the British National Archives at Kew, the libraries of the universities of Leiden, Amsterdam and the Witwatersrand, the Dutch Koninklijk Huisarchief in the Hague, Museum Africa in Johannesburg, IZIKO Museums in Cape Town, and the Musée National d'Histoire naturelle in Paris. It is also hoped to add the more significant of these, as well as any future discoveries, to this website.
History of the collections
After Gordon's death his widow, Suzanne Nicolet, originally from the Swiss canton of Vaud, returned to Europe with their four sons. She initially attempted to sell Gordon's papers in London, and to have them published in Paris; but they were eventually purchased in 1810 by Elizabeth Leveson-Gower, née Gordon, Marchioness of Stafford and later Duchess of Sutherland, with whose descendants they remained for over a century. While in the collection of the Dukes of Sutherland the drawings and maps were separated from the manuscript material and bound into six large volumes at some time after 1841. These were sold at auction in 1913 and purchased the following year for the Rijksmuseum, where they are kept as "The Atlas Gordon". The manuscript material, its connection with the drawings apparently forgotten, was at some time placed on deposit as part of the Leveson-Gore family archives in the Staffordshire County Record Office. After its rediscovery there 1964 it was sold at auction in 1979 and purchased by Mr Harry Oppenheimer for his Brenthurst Library in Johannesburg.
The letters to Hendrik Fagel in the Nationaal Archief were acquired by that institution as part of the Fagel family archive (Collectie Fagel) in 1930.
The maps and panoramas which are now part of the topographical collections there had at some time been placed in the Archief van Oorlog; they were transferred to the Nationaal Archief from the Topographische Dienst, Delft, in the mid-twentieth century and are inventoried with the Van der Graaff Collection as 4. TOPO 15.120.
I. The "Gordon Atlas" in the Rijksmuseum
The Gordon material in the Rijksmuseum is preserved in the sequence in which it was ordered while owned by the Dukes of Sutherland, and which almost certainly does not reflect Gordon's own arrangement. For reasons of conservation the topographical material and landscapes have been removed from the first two albums; the rest of the drawings remain in their albums. The drawings in albums 1 through 5 have inventory numbers beginning RP-T-1914-17, while those in album 6 (flora) are inventorised as RP-T-1914-18; in this site the these are abbriviated as GA-17 and GA-18. The albums are all in half-leather, stamped with the arms of the second Duke of Sutherland; the first two, formerely containing geographical material, measure 70.5 x 98.5 cm.; the others all measure 68 x 50 cm. and are titled as follows:
1 "Maps Plans Etc I".
2 "Maps Plans Etc II". These albums contained 16 maps (GA-17-1 to GA-17-15, and GA-17-19), plus 52 landscapes and views (GA-17-16 to GA-17-18; and GA-17-20 to GA-17-68) including all the oversized panoramas, many of which are mounted together according to size rather than subject, date or location.
3 "Men Reptiles Fishes" containing: 25 watercolours of an ethographical nature (GA-17-69 to GA-17-93, to which should be added three sheets from Album 4, GA-17-193 to GA-17-195 which contain copies after San rock-paintings); 14 watercolours of reptiles (GA-17-94 to GA-17-107); 13 of fishes and crustaceans (GA-17-108 to GA-17-120); and 3 of insects (GA-17-121 to GA-17-123).
4 "Quadrupeds" containing 115 watercolours of mammals (GA-17-124 to GA-17-238), including a southern right whale and a kangaroo (GA-17-237 and 238) as well as three sheets copying San rock-paintings of various animals (GA-17-193 to GA-17-195)
5 "Birds" containing 110 watercolours (GA-17-239 to GA-17-348) of birds, including some not found in South Africa.
6 "Plants" containing 108 watercolours and drawings of South African flora (GA-18-1 to GA-18-108).
II. The Gordon Papers in the Brenthurst Library
The Gordon material at the Brenthurst library is ordered into 17 fascicules, probably following the arrangement made by Gordon's widow, to whom can most probably be attributed the blue cover-sheets annotated in French.
107/1 The Journal of Gordon's second voyage (fully transcribed and translated on this website).
Cover sheet: "No 1 / Voyage du 6 Octobre 1777 au 8 Mars 1778 / Complet."
107/1/1: "Journaal van een reis door een gedeelte van het zuiden van Africa door R:J: Gordon Capitein gedaan in het jaar 1777 beginnende aan de Caap den 6 october". Bound exercise book of 93 pages, plus covers; folio, 30 x 20,5 cm. The inside of the front cover and the title-page are filled with rough lists of words in various indigenous languages.
107/1/2: "Vervolg van het Journaal van den reis van Captein Gordon in het zuider gedeelte van africa beginnend 6 oct: 1777". Bound exercise book of 74 pages, covers missing; folio. 31 x 21.4 cm. The daily entries end on p.49; pp. 50 to 65 are blank; p.66 has an Bantu vocabulary; pp.67-70 is an insert entitled "aanmerkingen wegens de Caffers en Hottentots talen", followed by vocabulary lists on pp.71-74. The scans and transcription are to be found in "Other Writings", Appendix to MS 107/1/2.
107/1/3/1 and 107/1/3/2: two loose sheet of ephemera in English, evidently dating from the period in which Gordon's widow was attempting to sell the collection in England. See "Other Writings", Appendix: MS 107/1/3/1, and Appendix: MS 107/1/3/2.
107/2 The journal of Gordon's third voyage (fully transcribed and translated on this website)
Cover sheet: "No. 2 / Voyage du 28 Aout 1778 au 25 Janvier 1779"
107/2 "Journaal der derde reis door een deel van zuidelijk africa gedaan van den 28 aug: 1778 tot 25 jan: 1779. R:J: Gordon." Folio MS of 43 pages, once bound but now without stitching, 37 x 25.5 cm.; pages 1 to 9 are blank apart from one sentence on p.1.
107/3 The journal of Gordon's fourth voyage (fully transcribed and translated on this website).
107/3/1/1: "Journaal van de vierde reyse van Captein R:J: Gordon in het Zuidelyke Gedeelte van Africa. begonnen den 27 Junij 1779 van de Caap de Goede Hoop”. Folio MS of 72 pp, of which pages 68 to 72 are blank.; has lost stitching or was never stitched; 42.2 x 26.8 cm. . The daily entries in this, the first of the two notebooks recording the fourth voyage, end on p.59 (21st October 1780). Pages 60 to 67 contain fair-copy accounts of: ostriches, lions and other animals; a Nama wordlist and extensive notes on Nama customs. The scans of these and a partial transcription and translation are on this website under "Other Writings", Appendix to MS 107/3/1/1; see also Smith and Bull 2016.
107/3/1/2: loose sheet, with remarks about Le Vaillant's giraffe. See "Other Writings", Appendix: MS 107/3/1/2
107/3/1/3: folded folio of 2 pp. with notes on Xhosa places, names, chiefs, words and kraals. See "Other Writings", Appendix: MS 107/3/1/3
107/3/2 "Vervolg van ‘t Journaay van de reis in 1779." Quarto notebook of 54 pp. stitched, but without covers; paginated by Gordon; 31.2 x 20 cm. The daily entries end on page 49 (13th January 1780). Pages 50-54 contain fair-copy notes on Nama decorations and names; burial customs; and other rites; page 54 has notes on animals. See "Other Writings", Appendix to MS 107/3/2; and Smith and Bull 2016.
107/4 The journal of Gordon's fifth voyage (fully transcribed and translated on this website).
107/4 Folio notebook of 40 pages, sewn, with no covers;; 33.2 x 21 cm. The fly leaf is blank, there is no title-page and no preliminary heading.
107/5 Meteorological notes
Cover sheet: "Observations Meterologiques"
107/5/1 "Observations méteorologiques faites au Cape de bonne Espérance pendant les années 1751 et 1757" Bound MSS of 14 pages. This is a copy or paraphrase of the observations made by the Abbé de la Caille.
107/5/2 "Proeve over De Meteorologie in het generaal; beneffens eene Schets van het weer aan de Caap de Goede Hoop &c &c." Bound MS of 30pp, with decorated cover sheet bearing title, plus 30pp. Not in Gordon's hand. An English translation of this MS is given in Plug 1995, where it is identified as copy of a MS entitled “Korte stellingen omtrent de meteorologie…” in the Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, Archief van Rogier Gerard van Polanen, no.317.
107/6 Notes on the Khoekhoen and San (fully transcribed and translated on this website, following Smith and Pheiffer 1992)
Cover sheet: "Particularités relatives à quelques hordes Hottentottes"
107/6/1 Loose leaf manuscript of 14 pages in Gordon's own hand; pages 1-6 are numbered by Gordon. There is no heading or title-page.
107/6/2 A single folded folio sheet of 4 pages concerning the "Moetjoana", with a short vocabulary.
107/7 Notes on Cape vegetation:
Cover sheet: “Observations sur la regne Vegetal”
107/7/1 Notes on different types of wood: fair copy, not in Gordon's hand
07/7/2 Loose sheet folded into four pages with remarks on a disease of orange-trees.
107/8 Notes on Mineralogy:
Cover sheet: “Observations sur la regne mineral”
107/8/1/ to 107/8/6: Eight loose sheets with notes of compass-bearings taken on mountains, mainly on the Cape peninsula, but including Riebeecks Casteel, Robben Island and elswwhere. Very rough notes made on spot in pencil on the bearings of mountains in the peninsula and False bay
107/8/7 Folded double folio with lists of different types of stone; not specific to the Cape but how to identify them; numbered 10 and 11 on the recto, not on the verso]
107/8/8 Two folded folio sheets, with an alphabetic key (probably to a drawing) identifying of stones, beginning: " A. Pierette de la premiere Couche de la Montagne de la table pres du cap".
107/8/9 and 107/8/10 Lists of compass bearings taken from Riebeeck’s Kasteel and Witteboom
107/8/11 "Korte schets der qualiteiten der Stenen", two folded folio sheets making 8 pages in Gordon’s hand. This does not appear to be specific to the Cape, and is perhaps copied from a publication.
107/9 Notes on topography and geography
Cover sheet : " Meterologique Observations Geographiques & Topographiques sur diverses parties de l' interieur de L'Afrique"
107/9 /1 Two folded folio sheets, headed “Basis" with distances and heights of various mountains, including Muizenburg, Malagas Island, etc. not in Gordon’s hand
107/9 /2 Loose sheet with compass bearings, and account of the Roggeveld and the description of an earthquake of 1783, in Gordon’s hand
107/9 /3 "Route van de Geisiqua na den keisi van de geisiqua daar men uitdraaijt” . Folded folio, concerning the country north of the Orange river, with marginal annotations about the "Moetjoeana", and, in English, on camels and various areas in north Africa
107/9 /4 Folded folio with notes on Bushmen, Hottentots, and the lunar eclipse of 23rd November 1779
107/10 Notes on languages (partially transcribed in Fauvelle-Aymar 2005)
Cover sheet: “Collection de mots des divers languages de l’Afrique méridionale”
This fascicule contains eleven items with vocabulary lists of various African languages: amaXhoasa and Khoekhoen, and also including those of slaves from Loanda, the Gold Coast and Madagascar. Only the Khoekhoen vocabularies are transcribed in Fauvelle-Aymar 2005.
107/11 Notes on animals (the partial transcription in Rookmaaker 1979 is included on this website)
Cover sheet: “Renseignements; & Descriptions de plusieurs animaux”
This extensive of fascicule 35 items consists mainly of notes, in various hands including Gordon’s, on various animals based both on Gordon’s own observations, and copied from publications and elsewhere. These are fully transcribed in Rookmaaker 1979: see under "Other Writings".
Additional to these are the following:
107/11/9 “Verhandelingen van verscheiden Siektes al hier in Afrika zig bevinden aan Paarden, Ossen, Schaapen bokken en Varkens”, 4pp., not in Gordon’s hand
107/11/11 Copy of a San drawing showing four dancing men and a jakhal, with what appears to be musical notation below.
107/11/25 In addition to notes on giraffes, this folio page contains extensive notes on the Nama language and customs
107/11/28 Contains the names of Nama chieftains, a mention of Coetzee’s journey north of the Orange River in 1768, and a list of quadrupeds found in southern Africa
107/11/30 Permit, dated 21 April 1780, granting Gordon permission to send two cases containing the skin and skeleton of a giraffe to the Netherlands on the return ship ‘t Zeepaard
107/11/31 Copy of letters from John Hunter to William Paterson, dated February 1791,
107/12 Miscellaneous Notes
Cover sheet: “Observations & Reflexions sur divers sujets”.
This fascicule contains 17 loose sheets, not all in Gordon's hand, with notes concerning: weather (in English); barometers and compasses; African countries, excerpted from published books; the seas and weather of India; Cape Point; the rocks at Paarl; the Alps and the Iles d'Hyères; the population of the colony; Manuel Perestrello's account of Agulhas; descriptions of San and Khoekhoen by earlier travellers. There is also a drawing, in Gordon's hand, of the sinus pudoris of a Khoekoen woman with observations and measurements; and a list of occupied and unoccupied farms in the Tulbagh valley dated 30th September 1785.
Cover sheet: “Lettres ecrites a differentes personnes”
107/13/1 Fair copy, in a secretary's hand and with some additions and amendments, of Gordon's letter to Hendrik Fagel of 24th April 1779, the original of which is in the Nationaal Archief (and is fully transcribed and translated on this website). This copy is discussed and partially translated in Smith and Pheiffer 1994.
107/13/2/1 Drafts of letters in French addressed to "M. le Comte", i.e. Johann Phillip, graf von Cobenzl, dated 1786-87, and discussing botany, zoology, geography etc.
107/13/2/2 Draft and copies of a letter in French to Professor Horace Bénédict de Saussure, dated 8th April 1789 chiefly concerning geology and mineralogy (fully transcribed, but not translated, on this website).
107/13/2/3 Draft letter dateable 1786 to “M. le Bailli”, i.e. Admiral comte Pierre André de Suffren de Saint Tropez, known as Le Bailli de Suffren, about topography, astronomical quadrants, navigation, trees etc. Fully transcribed and translated on this website from the transcription and translation in Linden 2010.
107/13/3 "Description of a Camelopard killed at the night of the 12th of October 1779" in English.
10713/4 "Observations on Sparrman's Voyage at the Cape of Good hope" in English. These are discussed in Smith 1990
107/13/5 Corrections, in French, not in Gordon’s hand, to the Abbé de la Caille’s Journal Historique
107/14-17 Miscellaneous notes relating to Gordon’s journeys
These fascicules contain rough notes, apparently made during Gordon’s journeys, which seem mostly to have been incorporated into his travel journals and Great Map.
107/14 Seventeen items consisting of rough jottings made on his journeys, consisting mainly of heights and other measurements. (There is also a ticket for the Lyon lottery draw of Frimaire an XI, i.e. November-December 1802).
107/15 Thirty-eight items, all on loose sheets with measurements and observations evidently made on the spot.
107/16 Twenty-seven items; all loose measurements and observations evidently made on the spot.
107/17 Twenty-five items; all loose measurements and observations evidently made on the spot. Also excerpts from a journal of "captain Popham', i.e the later Admiral Sir Home Riggs Popham.
107/18 Meteorological journal
"Metereologisch journaal, bijna dagelijks bijgehouden tussen 22 sept 1789 en 21 juni 1792", bound manuscript book. The final three pages contain (written upside-down in relation to the main journal) a list of " “Steenen versonden aan Proffessor de Saussure. Cabo de Goede Hoop den 1789”
Allamand 1769-81: Allamand, J.N.S.: Contributions and supplements to the "Nouvelle Edition" of Buffon's Histoire Naturelle, published in French by J.H. Schneider, Amsterdam.
Barnard 1950: Barnard, C. J. , “Robert Jacob Gordon’s se loopbaan aan de Kaap”, Archives Yearbook for South African History, XII part 1, Parow, 1950, pp.319-446.
Barnard 1993: Barnard, A., ed. A.M. Lewin Robinson, et al., The Cape journals of Lady Anne Barnard 1797-1798 (Van Riebeeck Society, 2nd Series, no.24), Cape Town, 1993.
Barnard 1998-99: Barnard, A, ed. M. Lenta and B.A. Le Cordeur, The Cape diaries of Lady Anne Barnard 1799-1800 (Van Riebeeck Society, 2nd Series, nos. 29 and 30), 2 vols, Cape Town, 1998-99
Barnard 2009: Barker, N. ed., Lady Anne Barnard's Watercolours and Sketches: Glimpses of the Cape of Good Hope, Simon’s Town, 2009,
Barrow 1806: Barrow, J., An Account of Travels into the Interior of Southern Africa in the Years 1797 & 1798, 2 vols., London, 1806
Bax and Koeman 1963: Bax, D. and Koeman, C., Argitektoniese skoonheid in Kaapstad se Kompanjiestuin, 1777-1805, Cape Town, 1963
Bindman et al. 2011: Bindman, D., Ford, C. and Weston H., “Africa and the Slave Trade”, in D. Bindman and H.R. Gates, eds., The Image of the Black in Western Art, Vol. III, part 3: From the ‘Age of Discovery’ to the Age of Abolition: The Eighteenth Century, Cambridge Mass. and London, 2011, pp.207-240
Boëseken 1944: Boëseken, A.J., “De Nederlandse kommissarisse en de 18de eeuse samelewing aan de Kaap”, Argiefjaarboek vir Suid Afrikaanse Geskiedenis, VII, 1944
Britten 1914: Britten, J, “Robert Jacob Gordon (1741-1795)”, Journal of Botany, LII, 1914, pp.75-77
Brommer 2009: Brommer, B., et al., Grote Atlas van de Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie. Vol. V. Afrika, Voorburg, 2009
Cave and Rookmaaker 1977: Cave, A.J.E. and Rookmaaker, L.C., “Robert Jacob Gordon's original account of the African Black rhinoceros”, Journal of Zoology, CLXXXII, 1977, pp. 137-156
Cloete 2003: Schutte, G.J., ed., Hendrik Cloete, Groot Constantia and the VOC 1778-1799: documents from the Swellengrebel archive (Van Riebeeck Society, 2nd Series, no.34), Vlaeberg, 2003
Cullinan 1982: Cullinan, P., “Colonel R.J. Gordon: the Dias Padrão at Kwaaihoek, the Hermitage at Mossel Bay”, Quarterly Bulletin of the South African Library, XXXVII, no.2, 1982, pp. 95-101
Cullinan 1989: Cullinan, P., “Robert Jacob Gordon and Denis Diderot: The Hague 1774”, Quarterly Bulletin of the South African Library, XLIII, 1989, pp.146-52
Cullinan 1992: Cullinan, P., Robert Jacob Gordon 1743-1795: the man and his travels at the Cape, Cape Town, 1992
De Jong 1982: De Jong, R. C., Geografische index op de Gordon Atlas: een transkriptie van en een alfabetisch namenregister op de Delen I en II., Unpublished typescript, 1982, in the library of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
De Villiers and Pama 1987: De Villiers, C.C., and Pama, C, Geslagsregisters van die Ou Kaapse families, Cape Town and Rotterdam, 1987
Du Puyfontaine 1972: Du Puyfontaine, H.R., Louis Michel Thibault 1750-1815: His official life at the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Town, 1972
Dyer 1948: Dyer, R.A.: “Col. Robert Jacob Gordon’s contribution to South African botany”, South African Biological Society Pamphlet, no. 14, Pretoria, 1948, pp.44-62
Fauvelle-Aymar 2005: Fauvelle-Aymar, F.X., “Four wordlists of extinct Cape Khoekhoe from the 18th century”, Studies in African Linguistics, XXXIV, no.2, 2005, pp.159-178
Forbes 1949: Forbes, V.S. , “Colonel R. J. Gordon’s contribution to Cape geography, 1777-1795”, South African Geographical Journal, XXXI, 1949, pp.3-35
Forbes 1951: Forbes, V.S., “An Atlas of eighteenth century cartography of the Cape”, Africana Notes and News, IX, 1951-52, pp.97-103
Forbes 1952: Forbes, V.S., “Further notes on Colonel R.J. Gordon”, Africana Notes and News, IX, 1952
Forbes 1953, Forbes, V.S., “Some South African original drawings and maps in London”, Africana Notes and News, X, 1952-53, pp 21-24
Forbes 1954: Forbes, V.S. , “Colonel R.J. Gordon’s Family”, Africana Notes and News, XI, 1954, p.135
Forbes 1965A: Forbes, V.S., Pioneer travellers of South Africa. A geographical commentary upon routes, records, observations and opinions of travellers at the Cape, 1750-1800, Cape Town and Amsterdam, 1965
Forbes 1965B: Forbes, V.S., “Some early maps of South Africa”, * “Some early maps of South Africa,"*, II, no.6, 1965, pp. 9-20
Fransen 1974: Fransen, H., “The Josephus Jones Panorama of Cape Town and Environs”, Africana Notes and News, XXI, 1974-75, pp.171-180
Funk 2012: Funk, H., “R. J. Gordon’s Discovery of the Spotted Hyena’s Extraordinary Genitalia in 1777”, Journal of the History of Biology, XLV, 2012, pp. 301-28
Garside 1942: Garside, S., “Baron Jacquin and the Schönbrunn Gardens”, Journal of South African Botany, VIII (3), 1942, pp.201-24
Gent. Mag. 1796: , The Gentleman’s Magazine, LXVI, no.5, May 1796, pp.442-43
Giese 1962: Giese, U., Wiener Menagerien. Ebersdaor, Neugebäude, Belvedere, Schönbrunn, Vienna, 1962
Glenn 2007: Glenn, I., “Francois Levaillant and the Mapping of Southern”, Alternation, XIV, 2 , 2007. pp. 25-39, 2007
Godée Molsbergen 1914: Godée Molsbergen, E.C., Robert Jacob Gordon, de Afrika-reiziger, Amsterdam 1914
Godée Molsbergen 1916-32: Godée Molsbergen, E.C., ed., Reizen in Zuid Afrika in de Hollandse tijd, 4 vols, The Hague, 1916-32
Gordon 1988: P. Raper and M. Boucher, eds, Robert Jacob Gordon: Cape Travels, 1777 to 1786, 2 vols., Johannesburg, 1988
Gordon-Brown 1975: Gordon-Brown, A, Pictorial Africana : a survey of old South African paintings, drawings and prints to the end of the nineteenth century with a biographical dictionary of one thousand artists, Cape Town and Rotterdam, 1975
Grant 1957: Grant, C.H.B., “Levaillant’s travels in South Africa 1781-1784, Ostrich, XXVIII, 1957, pp.83-97
Greenlees 1919: Greenlees, M., ed., Life at the Cape in mid-eighteenth century : being the biography of Rudolf Siegfried Allemann by O.F. Mentzel (Van Riebeeck Society, vol.2), Cape Town, 1919
Gunn 1954: Gunn, M.D., “Colonel R.J. Gordon”, Africana Notes and News, XI, 1954, p.135
Gunn and Codd 1981: Gunn, M. and Codd, L.E., eds, Botanical Exploration of Southern Africa, Cape Town, 1981
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