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JEFF HUNTLYíS WAGONS (article first published : 1999-09-21)

Well-timed for the commemoration of the Anglo-Boer War in October, artist Jeff Huntly has recently released three limited edition prints of his historical wagon paintings which commemorate the trek ox wagon era. These include Ballantine Half Tent Transport Riderís Wagon (original: egg-tempera on Gesso panel), The Outspan (original: acrylic) and Isandlwana Hill with Abandoned Army Wagon (original: acrylic).

Used largely by transport riders, the beautifully designed Ballantine wagons were produced at Ballantineís wagon works in Keiskamma Hoek, Eastern Cape. Black stinkwood was the finest timber for making a wagon because of its strength although the brake blocks had to be made from a soft wood such as that of erythrinas and Cabbage trees. Each wagon builder had his own design painted on the wagon. Jeff Huntly had a lengthy correspondence with Wiltse John Ballantine, one of the last wagon makers from whom he gained valuable information. The Ballantine works closed down in 1967.

Not a limited print but complementary to the three wagon pictures is Trial of Strength, a painting of trek oxen with two of the animals in the foreground with their heads lock as they push each other in mock battle.

Jeff Huntly is an experienced painter of birds, landscapes, wildlife and historical subject matter. His illustrated nature articles entitled Veld Sketchbook have been published weekly in The Witness for the past 16 years. His ox wagon prints are available directly at R100 each from his daughter Philippa Huntly on (0331) 94-1948 or 082 579-6521.


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