Art and Aspirations
The Randlords of South Africa and their collections
Written by Michael Stevenson, this is a study of the Randlords, their backgrounds and the accumulation of their fortunes on the diamond fields of Kimberley. The discovery of diamonds and gold in South Africa during the second half of the nineteenth century created unique opportunities for a handful of men to accumulate enormous wealth very rapidly. At the end of the century they were among the richest and most powerful individuals in the world. Most of them settled in Britain and adopted would-be aristocratic life-styles, soon becoming known as the 'South African millionaires' or 'Randlords'. Craving social acceptance and recognition, they constructed upper-class identities to transcend their modest, in some cases humble, backgrounds. They systematically acquired and displayed properties and possessions that symbolised wealth and power in Europe. Arguably, their most symbolic expenditure was on art, which they bought with the same zeal they had devoted to trading in gold and diamonds in South Africa.
2002 | Hardcover, 200 pages | Price: R400