Désirée Picton-Seymour writes of Oudtshoorn

Born in England, Désirée Picton-Seymour (1923-1991) trained as a fine artist at the Michaelis School at the University of Cape Town. She developed an interest in sketching, engraving, and painting heritage architecture at an early stage and produced two books during the 1950s in collaboration with R. I. B. Webster celebrating the buildings of the Western Cape and of the Transvaal. Her 1977 Victorian Buildings in South Africa represents one of the key reference works for these structures (many of which are no longer intact). The broader scope and more popular emphasis of her 1989 Historical Buildings in South Africa makes it a helpful companion for road travel in the country. Picton-Seymour contributed strongly to the architectural heritage community, particularly through the Cape Institute of Architects. Her family restored the farmhouse Zorgvliet next to De Waal Park in Cape Town during their residence there from 1969 to 1991.

from Victorian buildings in South Africa : including Edwardian and Transvaal Republican styles 1850-1910

The PDF of this book is available from colonialarchitecture.eu.

pp. 153-164

Ostrich feathers however were extremely profitable and Oudtshoorn, founded in 1841, was to become a boom town. A railway link with Graaff-Reinet had been achieved shortly before the turn of the century, and at about the same time the town was given a new water scheme; so it was from this time on that Oudtshoorn developed rapidly.

No lady’s wardrobe was complete without a feather boa and hats, coats, dresses, etc, were all trimmed with these soft, curling feathers. The walls and intricate furnishings of their homes were dusted with the inferior feathers belonging to the nearly extinct, flightless birds. Oudtshoorn was one of the world’s centres of ostrich farming and to a certain extent remains so today. Sheep and other farming also contributed to the town’s prosperity. It is however the Feather Barons’ mansions (and banks) that give to Oudtshoorn its particular atmosphere- just as the buildings associated with Gold Rush days were peculiar to Johannesburg. Unlike Johannesburg where the biggest and best houses were suburban, the best ostrich mansions were on the farms.

Such a house was The Towers, having magnificent pretensions and surrounded by romantic gardens. Built in 1905-6 for Olivier, the architect was Bullock, the most renowned of the Oudtshoorn architects. As the name of the house implies, the roof-line was broken by towers; one octagonal, above octagonal rooms at one corner of the building; the other set squarely over the main entrance. The better roofs of Oudtshoorn were for the most part of red tiles, in this instance fish-scaled in shape. The main roof was gabled on either side of the central tower and decorated with ornate bargeboarding. Along the ridges of the roof there was cast-iron cresting; there were cast-iron finials wherever a spike was possible, and the square tower was topped by a crown of ironwork. Grilles of ironwork covered the frontages, semi-octagonal around the bay windows of the corner tower section, jutting out around the three-sided bay windows below one of the gables, and following on the asymmetrical plan of the sides of the building. Wide steps, flanked by urns, led from the garden to the lower verandah and the arched front door. Encaustic tiles covered the flooring and continued throughout the hallway. The interior of the house was as magnificent as the exterior would have led one to believe. All arts, devices and prefabrications of the era were used to great effect. Such a house should have been preserved as a gorgeous repository for the delights of a by-gone time.

There were other magnificent houses; some are still in existence, but many have been demolished. Quite the most lavishly decorated town residence is the Le Roux House in High Street. Standing on a corner site, the small front garden is guarded by a stone wall set with somewhat Art Nouveau iron railings. The corner of the house consists of a circular tower, topped by deep ironwork above the fish-scale tiles of the conical curved roof. The base of the cone rests on a collar of ironwork with a motif of classical honeysuckle. Then below the corrugated-iron roof the circular verandah fans out, and it supported upon cast-iron pillars with railings; this verandah continues around much of the house and forms a delicate portico over the front steps. The walls are of the ochre stone of Oudtshoorn and the steep but interestingly-shaped roof is of corrugated-iron. Like small dormer windows, circular cast-iron ventilators look out from the lofts, and the roof is crested and spiked with ion lacework. The roof shape denotes the interesting shapes of the rooms beneath, especially that with the section below the circular tower; the ornate ceilings follow these odd contours in a delightful manner.

Gotland House, the home of C.A. Lind, emanated from Bullock’s fertile imagination, standing back from Queen St. in an iron railing-enclosed front garden. Steps with urns lead up to the central front door – a concoction of stained glass and elaborate woodwork; every sash window, too, has an upper section of stained glass, all Art Nouveau tulips and irises!

Another house showing the influence of Art Nouveau plus a turret and plenty of ironwork, also in Queen St., was that built by a local merchant, Robert Sladowsky. Standing in a delightful garden, it was of stone with a corrugated-iron roof. Intricate wooden bargeboarding and crowns of cast-iron cresting decorated the roof-line, whilst a stoep of lacy ironwork contrasted well with the stone walls. The garden was surrounded by similar stone walls, inset with Art Nouveau-inspired railings of iron. Similar in conception, though on a smaller scale, was the now demolished Louis Lazarus House, presumably also the work of Bullock.

A different aspect of Bullock’s work was Foster’s Folly, a Tudor-bethan house, built in 1906. A large double-storied building with the upper floor timbered, above was a roof of corrugated-iron, spiked with iron frills; and below, the lower story was of stonework with mullioned windows. Across the central section and at either end, were double-storied verandahs of cast-iron. Ready for demolition, this house with its surrounding garden has a look of romantic decay! [Note: Restoration rather than demolition was its fate!]

Bullock died in 1910. The other architect responsible for the eccentricities of Oudtshoorn was Vixseboxse, the Dutch architect who had worked for the Transvaal Republican PWD under Wierda, and was later employed by the Orange Free State. In spite of Republican influences the later works of Vixseboxse in Oudtshoorn are decidedly of the Edwardian era. The houses he designed were stonily grand, and the grandest survives today – Pinehurst, now a National Monument. This impressive home of the Edmeades family had much care and money lavished upon the building materials and fittings; the stonework, the woodwork, all is of first-class craftsmanship. Vixseboxse was responsible for Safari ostrich farmhouse, the date upon the gable of which is 1910. Originally named Welgeluk, today this is a show farm and the house is in an excellent state of repair. Of stone, with a roof of red tiles, there are many gables and a tower. A wide columned stoep runs round much of the building, and the railings are of wooden balustrading set into a base of stone. Ostriches parade in the well-kept grounds – a reminder of other days. Presumably Montagu House, with its stonework and glasswork, was also the design of Vixseboxse.

There are many other eccentric Oudtshoorn houses, towered, timbered and adorned with iron lacework and wooden fretwork. The influence of Art Nouveau design is often seen in juxtaposition with strictly classical motifs, such as the honeysuckle and acanthus. There were, too, houses of earlier date in the Georgian tradition, such as the Wiggett home in Queen St. These older houses were decorated with verandahs of woodwork (e.g. the Old Pastorie), after the fashion of the town houses of Grahamstown. There is a delightful Gothic house, a folly with Gothic trimmings superimposed upon a facade with shuttered sash windows of Georgian simplicity. This house is a folly by tradition, whereas the feather boom houses are ‘Follies’ in their own right.

Hotels, banks, and commercial buildings were all in keeping with the general aspect of the town. For instance Bullock’s Barclay’s Bank and the stonily Art Nouveau Standard Bank; the Courant offices of much earlier vintage and elaboration; shops in plenty, a drill hall, a theatre and other public buildings such as the old Municipal Offices which were erected during the early 1890s. Of churches the town has a good selection, and also a synagogue. The Dutch Reformed Church of finely cut stone was designed by the artist / architect Karl Otto Hager, who after arriving in this country in 1855 specialized in church building and was responsible for various massive piles, such as the Moederkerk in Stellenbosch and the churches at Clanwilliam, Somerset East, etc. But this neo-Gothic stone church at Oudtshoorn is by far his best work, complete with its Gothic-inspired cast-iron railings.

The Anglican Church of St. Jude’s in Queen St. was begun in 1860 by the Revd. Herman Hirsch, a converted German Jew. He was living near Schoonberg in the Langkloof, of which parish this was an out-station; after being there three months he began the walls of the nave of St. Jude’s, the corner-stone being laid by W. Walter, Esq., MLA. A great many of the fittings were special gifts: the medallion East window was presented by the Edmeades family (of Pinehurst), and the stone pulpit was given by Bishop Gray, his wife Sophia having been responsible for the general design of the church. Pleasantly Gothic, the building is of rough and cut stone (also the work of Scottish stonemasons); there is no spire and the roof has been crested with terracotta frills; huge buttresses stand firmly on the ground ready to take the strain of walls several times the weight of those of St. Jude’s.

The school buildings of Oudtshoorn were particularly prone to outrageous decoration. For these edifices the architects Bullock and Vixseboxse were largely the innovators. Both the Boy’s High School and the now demolished Girls’ High School were in part their designs. These buildings displayed the characteristics of both architects – the exuberance of Bullock, and the Transvaal Republican influence of Vixseboxse. Bullock had his offices in Church Chambers, and presumably these premises had been designed by him too. Vixseboxse had come to Oudtshoorn from the Free State where he had been working since leaving the Transvaal Republic; this new practice must have afforded him far greater freedom in designing than had been his lot in the offices of the PWD in the Boer Republics under the watchful eye of Wierda.

The Cape Town architect Hitchin went to Oudtshoorn in 1905, entering into partnership with H.H. Bridgeman. His work in Cape Town had been connected largely with the cast-iron decorated houses of Tamboers Kloof, a practice suitable for application in Oudtshoorn (the firm of Bridgeman is still in practice today). Another Cape Town architect to work in Oudtshoorn was Chas. Freeman’s pupil, H. Jones, who designed the South Western Fever Hospital on the banks of the Grobbelaars River. Jones was a superb draughtsman and his drawings for Oudtshoorn must have been interesting.

Figure Captions (images available in PDF above)

Le Roux House, High St. Oudtshoorn, 1909-10. Bullock (?) Built by J.H.J. Le Roux, a cattle breeder of Baakenskraal, this is quite the best example of a town house of the boom period. Romantically interesting in shape, it is set upon a corner site dominated by a fish-scaled circular tower with a curved ironwork verandah below; besides the lacy verandah, there is delicate ironwork on the corrugated iron roof and along the ochre stonework garden walls.

The Towers, Oudtshoorn. 1905. Bullock. Built by the prosperous farmer Olivier, who was also a member of the Legislative Assembly, this was the most splendid ‘feather palace’ to be built during the ostrich boom period. With towers of red ochre and walls of yellow ochre stone, double-storied verandahs of lacy ironwork followed the contours of the house. Now demolished, some of this ironwork (MacFarlane’s best), including the entrance gates, has been preserved at the museum which is housed in another of Bullock’s buildings – the old Boys High School.

Foster’s Folly, Oudtshoorn. 1906. Bullock. A flight of stone steps led up to the front door of this ‘Tudor-bethan’ house; everywhere was pattern – stained-glass panels in both doors and windows alike, encaustic tiling upon the floors of the hall and verandahs, heavy mouldings on the woodwork, and a magnificent brass doorknocker.

Gotland House, Oudtshoorn, c1906. Bullock. Built by C.A. Lind, this extravaganza of a house has a central verandah shading the front door, to the right and left the house juts out, forming a gabled end on one side and a towered section on the other; the gable is timbered and the wide window below is Art Nouveau in character, whereas the tower is Victorian, decorated with the laciest of ironwork. Lacy, too, is the design of the veranda ironwork – this verandah continues around the corner of the house beyond the tower and follows round a deep bay window at the farther end. The walls are partly of stonework and partly of neat plasterwork.

Louis Lazarus House, Oudtshoorn. c1908. Bullock. Now demolished, this house was of brick with stone dressings; the main roof was of corrugated-iron, as was the curved verandah roof, but the curved roofing to the bay windows was of fish-scale tiles; the woodwork and cast-iron was as intricate as any in Oudtshoorn and there was an especially gorgeous tympanum of iron lace over the entrance.

Pinehurst, Oudtshoorn, 1911. Vixseboxse. Standing upon a hill overlooking the Grobbelaars River and the town, this house built by the Edmeades family is a bastion of Edwardian permanence. The architect, Vixseboxse, had worked for the governments of the Transvaal Republic and the Orange Free State, and came to work in Oudtshoorn at the height of his career. Although Pinehurst has none of the charm of the ‘frilly’ boom houses, it is stonily grand and is a repository of Edwardian craftsmanship – every detail was personally supervised by both architect and owner.

Old Pastorie, Oudtshoorn. c1875. Hager. As Hager was the architect for the Gothic Dutch Reformed Church, it is most probable that he would also have designed the Pastorie, which is a fine building in the verandahed, colonial manner. These fretwork verandahs complement the stonework walls (the stone neatly cut, as were those of the church, by Scottish masons). The classical detailing above the windows and along the eaves is unusual, and this house is yet another example of good building in and around Oudtshoorn – even before the boom period.

Standard Bank, Oudtshoorn. c1903. Bullock and Vixseboxse. Both eminent architects had a hand in the designing of this fine stone building in the Art Nouveau idiom. This must be one of the finest small bank buildings in the country. Great attention was paid to every detail, both exterior and interior aspects being equally well designed. The use of differing textures of stone, the shapes and sizes of windows and arched openings – even the use of stained-glass and leading in the windows – all play an important part in the overall effect.

Dutch Reformed Church, Oudtshoorn. 1860-79. Hager. This architect’s finest achievement, an elegant and pleasing Gothic style beautifully constructed. It was estimated that each stone cut cost £10, a task accomplished by Scottish stonemasons; much practiced in their craft, these men had come to South Africa earlier in the century and had worked on the tiny Belvidere church at Knysna.

Dutch Reformed Church, Oudtshoorn, interior. As finely Gothic in detail as was the exterior, the pulpit of stone has a spired canopy of painted woodwork. Painted, too, are the pipes of the organ: this was a favoured practice during the latter part of the nineteenth century. The patterning of the stained-glass of the Gothic window is also typical of the period.

Old Boys High School (Museum), Oudtshoorn. c1909. Bullock and Vixseboxse. This stone building with its domed tower is a most fitting background for ‘Oudtshoorniana’, and it is here that the intricate ironwork from The Towers has been incorporated. Behind the main facade, the classrooms run back enclosing an open court at the far side of which is the former school hall – an imposing piece of architecture; even the roofs of corrugated-iron are all but concealed by cleverly-designed parapets.

from Historical Buildings in South Africa

pp. 86-88

Moderkerk: High Street, Oudtshoorn

Until the Oudtshoorn Dutch Reformed congregation was established on 11 October, 1853, and suitable premises were found, the farming community had to worship at the church in George. But it was not until 15 January 1861 that the foundation stone of the Moederkerk was laid with due ceremony. Plans had been drawn up by George Wallace for a suitable Gothic church for the fast-growing Klein-Karoo town of Oudtshoorn. However, various problems were encountered, including a lack of funds, delaying the consecration until 7 June 1879. In the meantime the artist / architect Carl Otto Hager had been called upon to finish building operations, resulting in one of the finest churches in the country.

It is built of local sandstone in a pleasing and elegant Gothic style, with pinnacle buttresses interspersed with traceried windows of stained glass. It was estimated that each stone cut cost £10, a task accomplished by Scottish stonemasons. Much practiced in their craft, these men had come to South Africa earlier in the century to work on the little churches built by Sophy Gray for the diocese of her husband, Bishop Robert Gray – for instance, the tiny Holy Trinity Church at Belvidere, Knysna.

The interior of the Moederkerk is as finely Gothic in detail as is the exterior, especially, the woodwork of the roof with its Gothic-arched beams resting upon corbels of carved stone. There are also Gothic pews, and the stone pulpit, guarded by angels, has a spired canopy of painted woodwork. Painted, too, are the organ pipes; this was a favoured practice during the latter part of the 19th century. The patterning of the coloured glass in the Gothic windows is also typical of the period. The ironwork railings that enclose the entire churchyard are also Gothic-inspired.

Arbeidsgenot: High Street, Oudtshoorn

The great champion of the Afrikaans language, C J Langenhoven, was born on a farm at Hoeko, but lived and worked at Arbeidsgenot, a typical Karoo house overlooking the Swartberg mountains. It is built of locally quarried stone, roofed with corrugated iron, and has gabled ends embellished with wooden bargeboarding, tipped by turned wooden finials. The facade is sheltered by a trelliswork verandah with an S-curved canopy, and adorned with the ubiquitous potted plants. Now a museum, the little house is dedicated to the life work of its erstwhile occupant who wrote the words of Die Stem van Suid-Afrika.

Cornelis Jacob Langenhoven: 1873-1932

Born at Hoeko in 1873, Langenhoven was adopted by his uncle and aunt, Pieter and Margarita Langenhoven, as his mother died shortly after his birth. Delicate as a child, Langenhoven was educated first at Ladismith, then Riversdale and finally at the Victoria College, Stellenbosch (later in life this university awarded him an Honorary D Litt). He married Magdalena Maria van Velden, a widow ten years his senior, and their only daughter, Engela, features in his writings.

The words of Die Stem van Suid-Afrika were written by Langenhoven, the author of some 40 books, and who has been a legendary national hero. He practised as an attorney in Oudtshoorn, living at Arbeidsgenot. He had a cultivated mind and great talents in both writing and political thinking. When, in 1912, he became editor of the Oudtshoorn bi-weekly netspaper Het Zuid-Western, he set about producing the periodical entirely in Afrikaans, and not partly in Dutch. He became a barrister of the Supreme Court and was a great orator. Renowned for his special brand of humour, his cartoons were drawn with almost professional aplomb. He also firmly believed in the importance of man using his hands, carpentry and bookbinding being other facets of his many accomplishments. Langenhoven died in 1932 aged 59, stating in his will that he was to be buried in a simple coffin and that his skull was to be disinterred 30 years after his death and donated to Stellenbosch University.

Le Roux House: High Street, Oudtshoorn

Quite the best example of a townhouse built during the Feather Boom period, the Le Roux House was built for JHJ le Roux, a cattle breeder of Baakenskraal. Designed in 1901 by the Oudtshoorn architect Charles Bullock, it is the most lavishly appointed house of the period still in existence. Bullock, however, was destined never to witness the completion of this house, for he died of double pneumonia in 1910.

Standing on a corner site, the house has a small front garden guarded by a stone wall set with somewhat Art Nouveau iron railings. Romantically conceived in shape, the house dominates the corner with a circular tower topped by deep ironwork above the fish-scale tiles of the conical-curved roof. The base of the cone rests on a collar of ironwork with classical motifs of honeysuckle. Then below a corrugated-iron canopy, the circular verandah fans out, supported upon cast-iron columns and with railings. This verandah continues around most of the house and forms a delicate portico over the front steps. The walls are built from the ochre-coloured stone of Oudtshoorn and the steep and complicated roof is of corrugated iron. Like small dormer windows, circular cast-iron ventilators look out from the lofts, and the roof is crested and spiked with iron lacework. The roof shape denotes the interesting outlines of the rooms beneath, especially the reception room below the circular tower; the ornate ceilings follow these odd contours in a delightful manner.

The house was known for many years as Aunt Rosa’s House, after Rosina Elizabeth van Niekerk, daughter of JHJ le Roux, who lived there until her death in 1977, when this magnificent house was taken over by the CP Nel Museum. Today it is one of the most fascinating house-museums in the country.

Feather Palaces of the Ostrich Boom

The fashion for the wearing of ostrich feathers was at its height during Edwardian times, though the boom period lasted from the end of the Victorian era right through until World War I. The dry Karoo was the ideal place for the breeding of these birds, and Oudtshoorn was the centre of this farming area. The feathers were graded and sent for auction either at the Port Elizabeth Feather Market Hall, or in Cape Town at the old Feather Market that once stood in Dock Road. From these ports, ostrich feathers were sent throughout the fashionable world. Curled and dyed, feathers adorned all manner of clothing, hats, fans and boas, and no young lady presented at Court would ever have dreamed of appearing without the customary three feathers in her headdress.

The farmers grew rich and wished to show off their riches by building fine homes for their families. Architecturally, these houses were in the very latest fashion, often being opulently vulgar and ostentatious. Nonetheless, those houses which have survived are fascinating in the extreme, like Le Roux House and Gotland House, both designed by the architect Bullock. Unfortunately the biggest and the best, The Towers, was demolished in the name of Education. Built in 1905 for Gert Olivier, a wealthy farmer and member of the Legislative Assembly, The Towers was also designed by Bullock, and was the most splendid. With towers roofed in red ochre and with walls of yellow ochre stone, the contours of the house were echoed by double-storeyed verandahs of lacy cast iron. Today some of this ironwork from MacFarlane’s Glasgow foundries is displayed within the C P Nel Museum at the impressive Old Boys’ High School.

Welgeluk was designed by Vixseboxse and is the best example of a Feather Palace still standing. Built in 1910, this house is typical of the architect’s later work. Built of local stone with a roof of red tiles, there are many gables and a tower; a wide-columned stoep runs around much of the building, and the railings are of wooden balustrading set into a base of stone. Ostriches still parade in the well-kept grounds of the remaining ostrich farm.

There are many other eccentric Oudtshoorn houses, towered, timbered and adorned with iron lacework and wooden fretwork. The influence of Art Nouveau design is often seen in juxtaposition with strictly classical motifs. The effects of the Feather Boom also influenced the manner in which public buildings were designed. For instance the Standard Bank, also the work of Bullock and Vixseboxse, is a fine stone building in the Art Nouveau idiom, reflecting the new-found wealth of the district.

Oudtshoorn remains one of the world’s centres of ostrich farming, and even if women seldom wear ostrich feathers today, they continue to dust their household ornaments with a feather duster made from the inferior feathers of these flightless birds that were once threatened with extinction.

Old Boys’ High School (CP Nel Museum): Baron van Reede Street, Oudtshoorn

Designed in 1909 by the architects Bullock and Vixseboxse, this sandstone building with its tall, iron-crowned domed tower, is a most fitting background for ‘Oudtshoorniana’, and today comprises the nucleus of the CP Nel Museum. An imposing piece of architecture, the buildings of the Old Boys’ High School display the characteristics of both architects, the exuberance of Bullock and the Republican influence of Vixseboxse.

It is a typically Colonial building with shuttered, round-topped windows and arcaded loggias shading the entrances to the schoolrooms beyond. These run back beyond the main facade, enclosing an open court. At the far side stands the former school hall, and here too are incorporated sections of the intricate ironwork from the demolished The Towers, a feather palace designed by Bullock in 1905 for the wealthy farmer, Gert Olivier.

Pinehurst: Jan van Riebeeck Road, Oudtshoorn

Standing upon a hill overlooking the Grobbelaars River and the town, Pinehurst is a bastion of Edwardian permanence. The Dutch architect Vixseboxse had come to Oudtshoorn following the Anglo-Boer War when his capabilities were no longer needed by the Boer Republics. Built for the Edmeades family at the height of his career in 1911, Pinehurst was designed in a magnificent manner. Meticulous in every detail, the building operations were supervised by both architects and owner, the cost being in the region of £10,000.

The rich-coloured sandstone facade is reminiscent of the buildings of the Transvaal Republic, divided into five sections with a grand central entrance consisting of three deeply recessed, flattened archways. Above, a large semicircular archway leads onto a jutting balcony, all topped and crowned by a pyramidal tower plus gazebo. On either side of the building is recessed, the great rooms leading onto double-storeyed verandahs of teak, supported on Ionic columns of stone. The simple, outer bays stand forward in line with the entrance and are capped by belled-out red-tiled roofs. These are spiked by air vents and bobbled finials. At either end of the house elaborate verandahs run back at right angles, double-storied and impressive.

The interior of the 20-roomed mansion is richly dark, with gleaming woodwork. The opulent-looking staircase descends to a vast hallway, with distant vistas viewed through the ample front door. Leading off are the magnificent reception rooms, each conceived in a different manner. No longer a home, and now used by officialdom, the house nonetheless retains much of its former splendour and atmosphere. Although Pinehurst lacks the charm of the ‘frilly’ Feather-Boom houses, it is stonily grand and remains a repository of Edwardian craftmanship.

Johannes Egbertus Vixseboxse: 1863-1943

Born in Almelo, Holland, in 1863, Johannes Vixseboxse was the son of a ‘timmerman-aannemer’, or carpenter-contractor. Prior to his arrival in the Transvaal in 1888, Vixseboxse had trained and worked as an architect in Holland. He was one of the young Netherlands architects who joined the Public Works Department of Kruger’s Government, under Sytze Wierda, working on the spectactular official buildings of the Transvaal Republic. From 1890 until 1893 he was Government Architect of the Orange Free State, overseeing the building of the Fourth Raadsaal in Bloemfontein. It was at this period that he and his assistant, Wentink, won the competition for the Natural History Museum in Cape Town, a typically Republican building of some splendour.

During the Anglo-Boer War Vixseboxse returned to Holland, then when hostilities had ceased, he came back to South Africa. He joined Bullock’s Oudtshoorn offices in 1907, designing such buildings as Oudtshoorn Boys’ High School, (now the C P Nel Museum) and the Standard Bank. Two years later he went into private practice, in partnership with Wentink, his erstwhile assistant. From the drawingboards of their offices in Schoeman’s Building, Church Street, designs were produced for such buildings of the Feather-Boom period as Pinehurst, Welgeluk, Calitzdorp Dutch Reformed Church and a considerable number of other bold and precisely conceived sandstone buildings – not only in Oudtshoorn, but in Cape Town and elsewhere throughout the country.

Vixseboxse died in Johannesburg aged 80, on 18 January 1943. It is interesting to reflect that he was an almost exact contemporary of Sir Herbert Baker and of Frank Lloyd Wright.