Duggan-Cronin Gallery - A world-renowned collection of Southern African ethnographic photography May 31st, 2021
The Duggan-Cronin Gallery
The Duggan-Cronin Gallery located in Kimberley, South Africa, is a photographic museum displaying the work of Alfred Duggan-Cronin, Aubrey Elliot, Jean Morris and Alice Mertens. Their photographs of the indigenous peoples of southern Africa, taken between 1919 and 1980, show aspects of traditional life and dress now largely vanished.
The Gallery occupies a former dwelling known as The Lodge. Built in 1889, to a design by the architect Sydney Stent, The Lodge was the residence of John Blades Currey, manager of the London & S.A. Exploration Co. In 1899 De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd acquired the extensive property of the London & S.A. Exploration Co, including The Lodge, which continued to be used as a residence.
In the late 1930s De Beers made The Lodge available to Alfred Martin Duggan-Cronin to establish what he called the ‘Bantu Gallery’ (the name regarded as progressive at the time). Exhibits were arranged by tribe in the various rooms of the house. These were re-arranged in the 1980s to incorporate a more strongly historical and critical narrative, which included the anti-apartheid struggle and incorporated work by artist Rocky Mafafo. More concerted work on the Duggan-Cronin collections resulted in a much more substantial display reconfiguration in the early 2000s.
When Mr Duggan-Cronin presented his framed photographs to the city of Kimberley, and deeded the rest of his photographic material to the Mc Gregor Museum, De Beers generously made “The Lodge” available for exhibiting the collection. In 1938 it was officially opened as the Duggan-Cronin Bantu Gallery with Mr Cronin as first curator in an honorary capacity.
On the Strength of its historical associations, and architectural features, it was proclaimed a National Monument on 17 August 1984 (Government Notice no 1758).
For more information please visit: www.museumsnc.co.za