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Paintings by J.L. Kalenberg Van Dort

J.L.K. Van Dort had an instinctive artistry and what he drew he did for the sheer joy of drawing. The young Van Dort was schooled at the Colombo Academy where his head-teacher described him as a prodigy and a genius. ‘Art’ was not a part of a school curriculum in that period of our educational system, so he had no formal training in drawing and painting. JLK was essentially an illustrator, thinking in terms of black and white, with pen and pencil as his chosen instruments. He rarely used oil and it is said that water colour had really little attraction for him. Sometimes he reinforced his drawings with wash. Wherever he went on journeys his note book and sketch book always accompanied him. As he sat in a railway carriage he would with a few swift lines and smudges unerringly record what he saw and what specially attracted his eye, catching the passing incident or scene. Sometimes along a rustic road he would perch himself on a rock or embankment and interpret the atmosphere. Rural life and ritual sports, palanquins and bullock carts, a rickshaw wallah or horse drawn carriage — were featured in many of his sketches. The social scene on Galle Face Green carried in caricature personages of the day, legal luminaries and senior colonial officers, ladies of society in their crinolines and bonettes. A collection vast and varied rests in the National Museum of Colombo of the people of mid 19th century Ceylon. His love of satore led him to contribute to local comic papers such as ‘Muniand’ and ‘Young’ Ceylon’. He contributed to several journals, magazines and newspapers. In 1868 he sketched a series of law-court characters for A.M. Ferguson’s ‘Souvenirs of The visit of the Duke of Edinburgh to Ceylon’, a pictorial record for us of a later generation, for his impressions of the social life of Ceylon at the time are a valuable commentary and way of life. JLK loved the country he was destined to live in and his work is a legacy for us to visualize what was and to keep record. J. B. Siebel a class mate of JLK later wrote how, ‘his friend had great delight to draw pictures of horses and also of soldiers’. This is seen in a painting of water colours which will be on display at the forthcoming Exhibition of the Dawson Monument Kadugannawa, titled ‘A halt of the Ceylon Rifles on route to Kandy’. J.L.K. Van Dort was born on the 28 July 1831 and married, as mentioned, Cornelia Henrietta Spittel. They had two children, Grace, born 30 September 1861 and Ernest Francis 23 January 1865, both of whom inherited their father’s talent — though they had not his prodigious output. From

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Gate of Starfort, Redoute van Eck in Matara by J.L. Kalenberg Van Dort

Foto van een tekening met de poort van het Starfort, Redoute van Eck te Matara, gebouwd in 1763-1765.
Rechtsonder gesigneerd en gedateerd .
Origineel nr. 29 afkomstig uit een album bewaard in het KITLV te Leiden, 9731-13300.

Owner/SourceAtlas of mutual heritage
File nameImage3.jpg
File Size69.1k
Dimensions308 x 399
AlbumsPaintings by J.L. Kalenberg Van Dort

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