Skip to main content

Jock of the Bushveld Transferware Plate

Sometimes when I come upon a piece of transferware I've not seen or don't recognize I do a little research to learn what story it might tell.  This Royal Doulton plate was no exception.  The imagery is absolutely beautiful and the title, Jock of the Bushveld, intrigued me.  

 Do you know of Jock?

In the early days of South Africa’s European history, a young, 22 year old man by the name of James Percy FitzPatrick returned from England to South Africa to support his recently bereaved mother. 
In 1884, FitzPatrick left his home in the Cape for the Eastern Transvaal at the lure of gold.  Gold had been discovered in the area and the rush was on.   FitzPatrick was one of few who had come from all corners of the world that made his way to the region of some of Africa's most scenic untamed wilderness to claim a portion of gold for himself.  However, Percy’s attempts at gold-digging were somewhat unsuccessful and before long he gave up, bought a wagon and some oxen and began life as a transport rider.

Transportation in those days was arduous, slow work. Roads were 
mere dirt tracks and the wagons that travelled them were pulled by 12 to 16 oxen which had to be fed, watered and, very importantly, protected from wild animals. 

The mid day heat was nothing less than scorching and was best avoided by traveling for four hours before sunrise and for four hours after sunset. During the day men hunted for their meals or saw to various chores around the camp. In these hard times, many men sought out brave and obedient canine companions to keep them company during the cold nights, to accompany them on hunting trips and to act as an extra set of eyes on the restless South African bushveld (low lands).  Percy FitzPatrick was no different. However, good dogs were hard to come by and FitzPatrick was short on luck.

Not long into his career as a transport rider,  one of FitzPatrick's companion's (Ted Sievewright) dogs had a litter of puppies.  She was a well respected bull terrier trail dog, though somewhat unattractive, and she had been covered by a pedigree Staffordshire Bull Terrier.  Five of her six pups were the epitome of their breeding.  They were strong, fat and had good coloring.  However, one of them was a runt.  He was weedy, ill-proportioned and was the victim of constant sibling attack.  Since the runt had not been spoken for, Percy came upon the idea of taking him on as his own.  However, right at the last moment Percy was offered the pick of the litter.  After a night of contemplation he decided to stick with the little weakling, thus saving him from being drowned in a bucket for being the runt. 

Percy called him Jock and it seemed as if the puppy knew from the very first day that FitzPatrick was his master.  He even followed him home without any coaching.  Jock was very loyal towards Percy, and proved countless times to be a brave companion, and champion of the litter from which he came.
Years later, after FitzPatrick had made his own fortune as a politician, author, and pioneer of the fruit industry, married and became a father, he would recount the adventurous times he shared with Jock as bedtime stories to his four children.  His close friend, none other than Rudyard Kipling, also took part in the story telling evenings and persuaded FitzPatrick to gather them into the form of a book.

Jock of the Bushveld was published in 1907 becoming an instant success being reprinted four times in that year alone with over 91 editions at last count and never having gone out of print. It is now widely accepted as a South African classic.  The book was highly praised by Theodore Roosevelt who called it "the best and truest story of a dog that I have ever read" and went on to say, "and I think that I have read them all."  This was a compliment that Percy treasured dearly.
Amazon has numerous printings of the book available here: Jock of the Bushveld  

The upscale private lodge within Kruger National Park known for the diversity in wildlife and particularly its Big Five sightings, the Jock Safari Lodge, was named after Jock.  It is built in the area near where the stories of Jock and Percy took place.

If you are fortunate enough to visit the Kruger National Park, you can follow the Old Transport trail which traces the route used in the winter months by the transport riders and was the setting for many of Jock's adventures.  It is marked with the plaques shown below.

Jock has been commemorated in numerous ways including not only the book and lodge, but movies, statues, plaques, maps and even this rare transferware plate which depicts him at the forefront with Percy (standing) and others in the group around a campfire.  The border of the plate is fittingly decorated with some of the various wild life in the Transvaal.

Sources: Jock Safari Lodge, AngelFire, Kruger National Park, Wikipedia

Sharing here: WOW  Share Your Style  From My Front Porch to Yours  The Scoop


  1. Nancy, this is very interesting. I'm impressed that you found so much information on this. Thanks for sharing. Beautiful plate!

  2. Hi Nancy:

    As always a great post. I too am amazed that you were able to get so much information.

    I may not have the time to comment very often, but I regularly visit.

    Hope you're having a great summer.

    - Alma, The Tablescaper

  3. I love stories like this, as I'm sure there are many. But it takes special people like you, Nancy, to dig them out and I'm so thankful you share them with us. Makes me love transferware even more, if that's possible. LOL

  4. What a great story! I had never heard of Jock but now I want to read his stories. So fun to have a plate featuring him!

  5. Hi, Nancy. I'm in South Africa. I'm not sure if my last message went through as the site 'froze'. Probably a problem from this side of the world.
    My Grandpa gave me the same Jock plate (I still have it, in mint condition) and he used to sit me down next to him while reading the Jock book. The plate was on my Grandparent's wall for as long as I can remember 40+++ years. Thank you for bringing it back to life, as it has been sitting in a bookcase.
    Robyn (SA)
    ps: I found your site while looking for a valuation... now I think it might inspire me to write, and keep it in my studio.

  6. Great story! I had never heard of Jock, but will be looking for a book and plate to go with my set. Thank you for sharing this.


Post a Comment

I love hearing from my readers. I appreciate the time you take to post a comment and I read them all.

Popular posts from this blog

English Cottage Living Room - Before, Partly After & Still a Work in Progress

I am sorry for not posting more pictures of the progress we've made settling into this new (to us) home.   It seems life rushes by so fast and that at times, doing little things, even those that I love and enjoy, often get pushed aside and onto the back shelf of my mind where I tell myself, "I'll get to this later".  Well, it is later and though I don't have as much to share with you as I'd like, I'm going to at least share my favorite spot in our living room.  I promise to show the rest of the room soon but for now the opposite half of the living room has been occupied by my daughters boyfriend who has been staying with us for the past 7 or so weeks until his apartment is ready for him to move into, and so the couch is usually made up for him to sleep on!   Here is a photo of the current living room just as we found it, a small room just off the entry of the house with a nice marble and wood fireplace surround, hard wood floors, beautiful crown mouldi

The History of Johnson Brothers and The Friendly Village Tablescape

Last week, Shawn and I popped into a couple of estate sales and I picked up over 100 pieces of Johnson Brother's The Friendly Village .  I think I may have to hang on to 12 of the dinner plates and use them this year at Thanksgiving but the rest of them, including this 48 piece service for 8, will be you know where. I don't know about you all, but I have had enough of Summer and I am down right ready for the cooler temperatures of Autumn.  I've been doing a lot of rearranging around the house….I'm in one of those zones where I've got a zillion projects going on, even if half of them are just in my mind that I'm contemplating!   We've also been moving kids out and around.  Three of them are out and the three still at home are moving or rearranging their rooms around.    Since I am yearning for Fall, haven't posted any tablescapes in a while and just got these Friendly Village pieces I decided to set the table with them.      Oh great, I

More Traditional Red White & Blue Rooms with Transferware

A couple of weeks ago I shared some pictures of beautiful rooms in red and blue color schemes decorated with transferware .    Here is another roundup of rooms that I adore, all with red and blue color schemes and all with transferware!  Enjoy!  (via Traditional Home) (via enchanted home) (my old living room) Joining some of the following parties: Between Naps on The Porch Transformation Thursday at  The Shabby Chic Cottage Feathered Nest Friday at  French Country Cottage Friday Inspiration  At The Picket Fence Cindy at  My Romantic Home Funky Junk Interiors Charm of Home No Minimalist Here WOW  Amaze Me Mondays  Making Monday Link Party  Motivational Mondays  What'd You Do This Weekend?   Inspire Me Monday   Make It Pretty Monday   Monday Link Party  Inspire Me Monday 

Decorating with Brown Transferware & $100 GIVEAWAY

Brown was introduced as a transferware color around 1829-30 and is the least expensive of colors to make. Therefore it is fairly common, so far as transferware goes, to find.  It is also one of the most collected colors and it is probably the most versatile of colors in my opinion.  Brown is neutral and looks good with any color scheme from pastels to rich jewel tones, but it is with the ushering in of Autumn that I see it popping up in home decor and vignettes the most.  Though, most of these rooms and vignettes are decorated with brown pieces year round, it just seems the perfect time to share them.  I may have to do another post because there are so, so many more equally beautiful spaces that have incorporated the use of displaying brown transferware  and I can't fit them all here. So, check these lovelies out and then stick around for the giveaway at the bottom of the post. This vignette just stole my heart the first time I saw it.  So many of us have vintage luggage

My English Country Mom Cave

Susan, at Between Naps on the Porch is hosting a Home Goods Mom Cave contest with four lucky winners.  Come on in to my little niche I've carved out of my house.  This is where I work, create, relax, read and chat with friends and family. This is one of my favorite spots in the house to read about one of my favorite subjects...English transferware or poetry, and drink tea.  I often start and end my day right here. Next to the chair is an antique dumbwaiter which holds some decorative items as well as lots of poetry books.  This is the view of the room from the wing back chair.  This cozy room serves as a small living room, although it's not uncommon to have 8 or 9 of the girls in here during family gatherings.  It's usually where we all wind up to have coffee and visit. . On either side of the sofa I display some of my vintage Canine figurines on Spode meat drainers. Above the sofa are some of my favorite paintings.  The one directly over the sofa my Mom pain

The Aesthetic Movement and Transferware

What is the Aesthetic Movement? The Aesthetic Movement refers to a period of time in the late 19 th century (1870-1900) which was a backlash to the formal Victorian years.  Artists and writers of the Aesthetic movement period maintained the belief that art should provide refined sensuous pleasure, rather than convey moral or sentimental messages.  They believed that art did not have any didactic purpose; it need only be beautiful.  Japanese art had a great influence on Aestheticism. Aesthetic interiors were often decorated with Japanese prints, screens, fans and other objects. An appreciation of the art of Japan is seen in the work of many Aesthetic artists and designers such as James McNeill Whistler and E.W. Godwin. photo credit Country Living The Aesthetes developed the cult of beauty, which they considered the basic factor in art. They ascertained that life should copy art and considered nature as crude and lacking in design

Decorating with Blue Transferware and a GIVEAWAY!

   If you haven't already been over to Enchanted Home , you'll want to go over after you finish this post because the wonderful Tina, who authors the incredibly gorgeous blog,  has a great post up about decorating with dishes plus she's hosting a giveaway to my online shop, English Transferware !  Details at the end of the post! I know Tina loves blue and white (just look at her header and you'll know!) and has a collection of her own. In honor of Tina, I've decided to share some of my favorite images of rooms decorated with and often around blue transferware collections.  You can see more rooms decorated with blue transferware on my Pinterest board . To me, Charles Faudree is just about as synonymous with English transferware as he his with French Country Decorating...he seemed to always find a use for it in his incredibly detailed decorating schemes.  Isn't this bedroom charming? I love this next image from Decor Magazine.  Look how the blu