THE PRACTICE OF PERSPECTIVE IN THE NETHERLANDS AND ITS APPLICATION IN THE AREAS OF LAND SURVEYING AND CARTOGRAPHY AT THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE DURING THE 17TH CENTURY AS A MEANS OF APPROPRIATING COLONIAL LAND
E.A. Mare, P. Dubourg-Glatigny
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Berlin Office
Perspective may be divided into two categories: the first, a theoretical category, known as "speculative", is linked to reflection on the principles of mathematics as practised during the Italian Renaissance; the other, a practical category resulting from the diffusion of perspective outside Italy, refers to the work of 16th century prospettivi or perspecteurs whose professions were concerned with the practical application of this discipline to earth sciences. At Antwerp in 1604‑1605 Jan Vredeman de Vries published a manual on perspective which differed from Italian methods. Later Simon Stevin of Bruges shifted this technique to the ambit of engineers and surveyors.
Surveyors who had been trained in the Dutch school as perspecteurs were employed by the United East India Company (VOC), founded in 1602. In the territories where the company established settlements such as the Cape of Good Hope, they had the task of surveying the new land to demarcate the acquisition of the territory. The tools they used did not only derive from the Western concept of perspective, but from methods that were more specifically Dutch in that they were linked to the judicial and political regime of the United Provinces of the Netherlands. The specifics of this method as revealed in VOC maps may be understood as deriving particularly from the conflicts with the indigenous populations who based their sense of land ownership on other criteria.
The paper deals with the vastly different
attitudes of the Dutch colonisers at the