1870 – 1938
Who was Arthur Elliott?
Arthur Elliott, was a South African photographer who recorded the passing scene at the Cape. His love of Cape Dutch architecture is expressed in some 10,000 photographs of considerable artistic and historic merit, creating an unrivalled pictorial record of early 20th century buildings at the Cape.
Elliott was orphaned when 12 years old and lived in Scotland before finding his way to South Africa at the age of 20. He tried his hand at various jobs such as scene-painter and production manager at the Luscombe Searelle Acting Company in Johannesburg.
He ended up in Cape Town as a war refugee in 1900 and took to photography which became a life passion. His home in Cape Town is commemorated by a plaque at 134 Long Street – the address where he led a frugal bachelor's existence and worked for 32 years. He had a number of major exhibitions in Cape Town – in 1910, 1913, 1926, 1930 and finally in 1938. These exhibitions gave him widespread recognition and enabled him to eke out a living through the selling of prints.
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