A stunning artist’s impression of the Zulu War, painted by an Irish soldier on the battlefield, is to be auctioned in London.
William Whitelocke Lloyd was on active service as a soldier-artist with the British Army during the famous Anglo-Zulu war.
His eye-witness pictorial record of the conflict is expected to fetch over $100,000 when it goes to auction at Sotheby’s.
The colonial era was the centrepiece of the Michael Caine movie Zulu.
But the Irish Times reports that the original visual account of the war was created by Whitelocke Lloyd during his active service in Zululand, now part of South Africa, in 1879.
The paper reports that his album of watercolours and sketches has turned up at Sotheby’s in London.
The auctioneer says the collection is a ‘highly important album of cultural and historical significance – containing 100 watercolours and 24 sketches’.
Lloyd was born in 1856 and was the only son of a wealthy Anglo-Irish family who lived at Strancally Castle near Cappoquin in west Waterford.
He attended Oxford University with Oscar Wilde but joined the British army after failing his exams and was dispatched to Cape Town.
An aspiring artist, Lloyd packed a sketchbook and watercolour box in his kit bag.
The report states that his battalion was involved in the invasion of Zululand and he painted the troops and landscapes including the sites of famous battles at Rorke’s Drift, Isandlwana and Ulundi.
The popular Illustrated London News weekly publication used some of his sketches to illustrate reports of the war.
The paper says that Lloyd left the army in 1882 and became an official artist for the PO shipping line but his career ended prematurely when he died at the age of 41 in 1897, after falling from a tree he was pruning at his home in Ireland.
His album was discovered in 2000, over 100 years later by the acclaimed South African historian David Rattray.
Lloyd was the subject of a book by Rattray who wrote: “Victorian soldiers were taught how to sketch accurately but Lloyd had a serious talent.”