Herbert Hasting McWilliams
(Walmer, 1907 – Port Elizabeth, 1995)
Reconstruction of the ancient city of Lachish, 1932
Pen, watercolor and white heightening on paper
cm. 46 x 71
Inscription: (bottom left) H.H. McWilliams / 1932; (plate on the rear) The Welcome-Marston Archaeological Expedition to the Near East 1932-38 Lachish showing double fortification constructed by Rehboam and maintained until the fort’s final destruction, 588-587 b. C. Drawing by H.H. McWilliams
The grand drawing of the reconstruction of the ancient city of Lachish was carried out by McWilliams at the end of the first phase of the excavations conducted by James Leslie Starkey, from London, during the Archaeological mission in Palestine in 1932-1938, which ended with the mysterious murder of the Archaeologist. The South African artist created it on the bases of an aerial photograph of the site – the current Tell ed-Duweir in Israel – and the philological interpretation of the remains and sources.
He moved to London in 1926 to study architecture, and traveled all over Europe as a draftsman before joining the Welcome-Marston Archaeological Expedition in the Middle East. Even after his debut, as an architect, in his country, he continued his active and adventurous life, participating in the landings in Sicily and to the liberation of the Greek islands. He is considered a worldwide prominent designer of war topics, a naval designer and an illustrator: his works are exposed in South Africa’s major museums.
The Reconstruction of Lachish, which offers an image of the biblical city, previous to its destruction, in 587-588 BC, protected by double walls, as affirned by Starkey, was published by the archaeologist himself, in the first report of the excavations carried out in Palestine (1933) and which is since then considered the official icon of the ancient fortified town of Judea, second in order of importance, only to Jerusalem.