James Lycett of Worcester, Western Cape, was a liberal contributor of zoological and botanical specimens to the South African Museum, Cape Town, for a period of nine years, up to the time of his death in 1883. During the last three years he donated birds, insects and reptiles.
In response to a general invitation by the Ethnology Section of the South African Philosophical Society to submit ethnological material, Lycett made tracings of rock paintings in the Hex River district and organised a party to carry a camera to the sites to take photographs. The tracings were first exhibited before the society in January 1879 by Calcott M. Stevens*, honorary secretary of the Ethnology Section. Over the next six months Lycott sent some photographs, more tracings, and some pieces of pottery from the same locality.
He can with reasonable certainty be identified as James Lycett (1811-1883), Cape police officer and founder of the Order of Odd Fellows in South Africa, whose papers, manuscripts and photographs are kept in the National Library of South Africa in Cape Town. He may, however, also be James Lycett, actor and play producer, who arrived in Cape Town in 1848 and produced plays there until 1857. From 8 August to 10 November 1854 the latter visited Namaqualand with J. Calvert to prospect for copper. His journal of this journey is in the library of the University of the Witwatersrand.