Background and History

The South African Association of Art Historians launched a journal in 1987. Accredited by the Department of Education and Training, the journal contains refereed articles as well as exhibition and book reviews.

Published initially by the Bureau of Scientific Research, the journal was shared with the discipline of Cultural History and was named "The South African Journal of Cultural and Art History". But this linking of Art History with Cultural History was troublesome for SAAAH members. While Cultural History is now regarded as a dynamic discipline, in apartheid South Africa it tended to be associated with Nationalist ideologies. By 1990, the editorial committee had persuaded the Bureau that the SAAAH had sufficient material to warrant an independent journal, and our publication was renamed "The South African Journal of Art and Architectural History".

By the end of 1991, however, financial constraints meant that the Bureau was unable to continue publishing the journal. The University of South Africa (Unisa) took over as our publishers, and helped the Association to produce editions in 1993 and 1994. But Unisa is obligated to give its own study guides and teaching material priority, and publication of the journal fell seriously behind schedule. In order to ensure that accepted articles were published, Rory Doepel undertook the task of desk-top publishing the 1995 and 1996 editions. Although no journals were produced in 1997 and 1998, there are endeavours underway to produce a journal in 1999. This volume will contain papers from a conference on Thomas Baines held in 1997. Rory Bester, Barbara Buntman and Karin Preller have constituted themselves into a sub-committee of Council, and they are devoting themselves to the task of fund-raising for future editions of the journal.

The Constitution of the SAAAH indicates that the Editorial Committee shall consist of four elected members and three members nominated by Council, and that the editor of the journal is to be appointed by Council and is to be an ex-officio member of council. The first editor of the Association journal was Nico Coetzee, who undertook, amongst other editorial duties, the task of liasing with the Bureau, establishing a journal independent of Cultural History, and, later, liasing with the publishing department at the University of South Africa. He was assisted initially by a committee including Frieda Harmsen, Rory Doepel and Raymund van Niekerk. Later members of the editorial committee included Jillian Carman, Lucy Alexander, Brenda Schmahmann, Michelle Jersky, Lesley Spiro, Elizabeth Rankin and Julia Charlton. Although there is currently no official editor and editorial committee for the journal, Michael Godby will be guest editor for the 1999 edition on Baines. Once funds are raised to again produce the journal regularly, a new editor and editorial committee will be elected.

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