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Cape Dutch Revival


If Herbert BAKER can take credit for a South African style it is certainly Cape Dutch Revival, an appreciation he developed under the sway of Rhodes' enthusiasm for the style. It was possibly made easier for him to assimilate the style since Queen Anne, with its distinctly Dutch origins, was fashionable in England at the time, and his affinity for the Arts and Crafts movement would have engendered in him an appreciation for the Cape vernacular. His 'restoration' of Groote Schuur for Rhodes was spurious, since later research has shown the original conversion of the barn to have been neo-classical in Georgian style. This did however lend official sanction to a style which was at the time in decay and the survival of those buildings done in the style under threat. BAKER's essay The origin of old Cape architecture coupled with Elliott's photographic record helped spur public awareness of and appreciation for the style. (Baker, H. 1900. The Origin of Cape Architecture. In Trotter, A. Old colonial houses of the Cape of Good Hope. London: Batsford ; Viney, G. 1987. Colonial Houses of South Africa. Cape Town: Struik-Winchester)