S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Frames, Lieut-Col Percival Ross (plant collection, shell collection)

Born: 18 December 1863, Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Died: November 1947, Cape Town, South Africa.

Percival ("Percy") Ross Frames, solicitor and plant collector, was the son of William Minett Frames and his wife Elizabeth Cecilia, born Titterton, and a brother of the mining engineer Minett Edward Frames*. He received his schooling in Kimberley and at the Lovedale Institute, and matriculated through the Univerisity of the Cape of Good Hope in 1883. In 1887 he obtained the Certificate of proficiency in Law and Jurisprudence from the same institution. Two years later he became the first president of the South African Rugby Board, a position he held until 1893. In 1891 he married Linda Brown of Queenstown, with whom he had three children.

By 1899 Frames practised as a solicitor in Bulawayo, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), where he served on the first council of the Rhodesia Scientific Association (founded in 1899). At a meeting of the association in February 1900 he exhibited minerals and artefacts found at various prehistoric ruins. He resigned from the council when he left Bulawayo in 1902 upon being elected a member of the Rhodesia Legislative Council, but was still a member of the association in 1906. For many years he was a political agent for Cecil J. Rhodes and the De Beers Company.

By 1906 Frames lived in Johannesburg, where he practised as a partner in the legal firm Hudson and Frames and was a director (later managing director) of the Premier Diamond Company, Ltd. During World War I (1914-1918) he served as acting quartermaster-general of the "northern force" campaign in German South West Africa (now Namibia), attaining the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and was appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG). For some years he served as chairman of De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd. while practising in Kimberley. During the early nineteen-thirties he retired to Kenilworth, Cape Town.

Frames collected and cultivated succulent plants and became a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Botanic Gardens at Kirstenbosch. A number of plant species, including Aloe framesii, Delosperma framesii, Pleiospilos framesii and Homeria framesii were named after him by H.M.L. Bolus*, and Volume 4 of Flowering plants of South Africa was dedicated to him. He also collected both marine and land shells, and purchased foreign shells from G.B. Sowerby* and others. His collection later went to the South African Museum in Cape Town. The snail Sculptaria framesi was named after him.

Frames became a member of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science in 1905 and was still a member in 1918. In 1904 he became a member of the Geological Society of South Africa and was still a member in 1919. By 1917 was a member also of the Royal Society of South Africa.

List of sources:
Barnard, K.H. Personal names in South African conchology. Cape Town: Conchological Society of South Africa, 1965.

Geological Society of South Africa. Transactions (and Proceedings), 1906, Vol. 10; 1915, Vol. 18; and 1920, Vol. 23: Lists of members.

Gunn, M. & Codd, L.E. Botanical exploration of southern Africa. Cape Town: Balkema, 1981.

Rhodesia Scientific Association. Proceedings, 1899-1903 and 1906, Vol. 1-4 and 6.

Royal Society of South Africa. Transactions, 1917, Vol. 6, lists of Fellows and members.

South African Association for the Advancement of Science. Report, 1905/6, 1910, 1918: Lists of members.

South African who's who, 1908, 1919/20, 1927-8, 1931-2, 1936, 1939, 1944, 1946.

Standard encyclopaedia of southern Africa (SESA). Cape Town: NASOU, 1970-1976.

University of the Cape of Good Hope. Calendar, 1884-5, 1893-4.

Compiled by: C. Plug