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Temple Chambers - Board of Executors Building
Cape Town, Western Cape

George Murray ALEXANDER: Architect 1893
Frederick McIntosh GLENNIE: Architect 1929

Date:1893 : 1929
Type:Offices
Status:Extant
Street:Cor Adderley and Wale Streets

 


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Coordinates:
33°55'29.07" S 18°25'12.22" E Alt: 30m

The first three floors of the original building by GM ALEXANDER in 1893 were retained by FM GLENNIE when he added the top three in 1929.

Description of the sculpture on the corner of Wale and Adderley Streets.

This group was erected in a niche on the corner of the building designed by the architect George Murray Alexander, at whose suggestion the sculptures were executed. The price paid was a modest 94 Pounds. The architect in a letter to the Board proposed that the Statue be "a distinguishing mark, emblem or motto for the Board (of Executors), representing the object of the Board through a shepherdess, holding in her right hand the Crook, while her left hand resting on the Anchor; while approaching her a cupid is submitting a book, or volume containing facts on which information or guidance is required; and another cupid or client(!) having in one hand the Scales of Justice and in the other hand a wreath".

This portentous and absurd subject matter is rendered in an appropriately clumsy manner. Not surprising, therefore, that the large draped female came to be known as "Widow Twanky" the immemorial pantomime dame, always a figure of fun, who nonetheless comes up trumps in the end. (A client or the Board itself?)

The artist, expected, one presumes, to content himself with the 94 Pounds and not to seek notoriety, remains unknown. The sculpture was, after all, the architect's idea, not his. RvN [Raymund van Niekerk]

(Crump et al. 1988:34)


Writings about this entry

Cole, DI. 2002. The building stones of Cape Town : a geological walking tour. Cape Town: Council for Geoscience. pg 37
Crump, Alan & Van Niekerk, Raymund. 1988. Public sculptures & reliefs Cape Town. Cape Town: Clifton Publications. pg 34
Johnson, Brian Andrew. 1987. Domestic architecture at the Cape, 1892-1912 : Herbert Baker, his associates and his contemporaries. Cape Town: Unpublished Thesis UNISA. pg 360
Radford, D. 1979. The architecture of the Western Cape, 1838 1901. A study of the impact of Victorian aesthetics and technology on South African architecture. Johannesburg: Unpublished Ph.D thesis. Dept of Arch. University of the Witwatersrand. pg 110
Rennie, John for CPIA. 1978. The Buildings of Central Cape Town 1978. Volume Two : Catalogue. Cape Town: Cape Provincial Institute of Architects. pg 208 item 65.33
Walker, Michael. 2011. A Statement In Stone. Cape Town: Privately published by Michael Walker. pg 33