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LIGHTON, Norman Charles Kingsley

Born: 1904 07 27
Died: 1981 09 12


Reg No: 156
Year registered: 1927

Lighton is far better known as a painter of birds than as an architect. He was born in Wonderboom near Pretoria. His father was an engineer on the South African Railways. He was apparently articled to an as yet unidentified firm of architects in Pretoria before joining the PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT at the end of 1925 but was appointed a permanent member of staff only in 1929. He was promoted to architectural assistant Grade 1 in 1934 and was still listed as a staff member in 1938. According to the Dictionary of South African Biography (Vol V), he was seconded to the Transvaal Museum in Pretoria in April 1936, by the Minister of Public Works in order to make the illustrations for Dr Austin Roberts's book The Birds of South Africa, first published in 1940. He had previously illustrated CD Priest's The Birds of Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), published in four volumes between 1933 and 1936. According to Clancey, (Bokmakierie 36 (1) 1984:3) Lighton made extensive use of the Finch-Davies originals stored in the Transvaal Museum without any acknowledgment of having done so, and, according to Johnson (Bokmakierie vol 21 (1) 1969:3) used Finch-Davies's work particularly as a 'source of illustrative colour material'. Johnson adds that Lighton credited 'Finch-Davies with having had a profound effect on his work, as a draughtsman' (Johnson: Bokmakierie vol 21 (1) 1969:3). During the Second World War Lighton was for a short time a gymnastics instructor at the Medical Corps Training Depot at Zonderwater before being seconded to the South African Institute for Medical Research, at the insistence of Dr J Gear, where 'he made drawings of blood parasites and their hosts for a book on tropical medicine intended for the South African troops serving in East Africa' (DSAB Vol V). He was a member of the Transvaal Provincial Institute of Architects until he retired in 1964. He moved to Cape Town, appointed Assistant Provincial Architect in 1969. He died in Cape Town aged seventy-seven. The Brenthurst Library in Johannesburg has a collection of his art work.

ISAA 1927. (Bird 1977; Bokmakierie 21 (1) 1969; Bokmakierie 33 (4) 1981 obit; Bokmakierie 36 (1) 1984; DSAB 5; ISAA mem list; Jeppe 1964; Johnson, 1969; Kemp, 1984; Ogilvie 1988)

Publ: Illustrations for The Birds of South Africa by, Dr Austin Roberts 1940, 2nd ed. 1957, 3rd ed. 1970; 4th ed. 1978; Illus. Birds of Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) by Capt CD Priest, publ in 4 vols 1933-6; Birds of Eastern and North Eastern Africa by Col Mackworth-Praed and Grant, illus vol 2, 1955; Some protected birds of the Cape, publ by Cape Province Conservation Dept; Illus for Blood parasites and their hosts (Dr J Gear) SA Medical Research; illustrations for the Afrikaans Children's Encyclopaedia (s.l.).

All truncated references not fully cited in 'References' are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.

Books citing LIGHTON

HSRC. 1987. Dictionary of South African Biography Volume V. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council. pp 452-453

ISAA. 1959. The Yearbook of the Institute of South African Architects and Chapter of SA Quantity Surveyors 1958-1959 : Die Jaarboek van die Instituut van Suid-Afrikaanse Argitekte en Tak van Suid-Afrikaanse Bourekenaars 1958-1959. Johannesburg: ISAA. pp 93, 213

ISAA. 1969. The Yearbook of the Institute of South African Architects and Chapter of SA Quantity Surveyors 1968-1969 : Die Jaarboek van die Instituut van Suid-Afrikaanse Argitekte en Tak van Suid-Afrikaanse Bourekenaars 1968-1969. Johannesburg: ISAA. pp 96, 174

ISAA. 1927. Register of Members the Institute of South African Architects. Johannesburg: ISAA (Unpublished Record). pp L13

McLachlan, GR, Liversidge, R. 1963. Roberts birds of South Africa. Cape Town: The Trustees of the South African Bird Book Fund distributed by the Central News Agency. pp All colour plates

Roberts, Austin & Lighton, Norman C K. 1953. The birds of South Africa. London: Published for the trustees of the South African bird book fund [by] H.F. & G. Witherby. pp All illustrations