Barbara Tyrrell watercolours

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 115 RCS/RCMS 211
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
      English .
  • Physical Description
      1 archive box(es) 1 box art work

Scope and Content

Sixty original watercolours (280 x 380 mm) with detailed captions.

Administrative / Biographical History

Barbara Eleanor Harcourt Tyrrell was born in 1912 in Durban and grew up in Zululand. Her father was an assistant magistrate and later interpreter in the Department of Native Affairs. Tyrrell trained as an artist at the University of Natal during the 1930's and worked for a time in London on fashion drawing. She returned to South Africa and settled in Richmond. Her interest in the rich and diverse dress and adornments worn by the peoples of southern Africa inspired her to document them at a time of increasing modernisation and westernisation. Tyrrell embarked upon her first field trip in 1934, and by the 1960s, had recorded the costume and customs of virtually all of southern Africa's peoples.

Access Information

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Acquisition Information

Presented by Dr Killie Campbell and Mrs Gladys Hepburn in 1950.


Includes index.

Other Finding Aids

A catalogue of the collection can be found on ArchiveSearch.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

good condition

Related Material

A set of related photographs of South African dress, some of which were taken by Tyrrell and Campbell, is stored at Y305O.

A large body of Tyrrell's work forms part of the Campbell Collections at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Additional Information

This item level description was created by MJC.

DateText: The date is approximate..

Tyrrell, Barbara, 1912-2015, artist