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Delville Wood Memorial
Cape Town, Western Cape

John Stockwin CLELAND: Architect

Date:n.d.
Type:Monument
Status:Extant
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This is a replica of the Delville Wood South African National Memorial designed by Sir Herbert BAKER, with sculpture by Alfred Turner, in Delville Wood, France. There is another replica in Pretoria.

The memorial, sited in the Company's Garden in Cape Town, comprises of a studied arrangement of three component parts.

The focus of the memorial is an octagonal stone tempietto surmounded by a bronze group 'Brotherhood' by Alfred Turner. The tempietto is placed on the intersection of the axis created by the north entrance elevation of the South African Museum and the cross axis formed by the east entrance elevation of the South African National Gallery. The tempietto was designed to function as a drinking fountain. A low plinth was formed by stairs which led up to the fountain - water was intended to pour out of stone lions heads into a mosaic trough. Today the fountains are turned off and a low metal fence blocks access to the stairs. A bronze commemorative plaque is recessed into a granite paving stone next to the Memorial.

The sculptured group surmounting the tempietto faces towards the National Gallery across manicured landscaping. The two figures that clasp hands over a prancing horse are symbolic of the English and Afrikaans soldiers who fought together in France. The inscription commemorating the monument was later extended to include later wars in which South Africans fought. Another cast of the bronze group can be found at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

The other subsidiary parts of the memorial are also sited on the cross axis, namely a large field gun on the East side; and a statue of Maj Gen Lukin on the West. The painted steel field gun forms a memorial to members of the artillery who fell in World War One.

The inscription - in English and Afrikaans - on the the pedestal of the Anton van Wouw statue of Major General Sir Henry Thomas Lukin reads:

Major General Sir Henry Timson Lukin,
KCB, CMG, DSO, Commander,
Legion of Honour, Order of the Nile.
Born 24 May 1860.
Died 16 December 1925.
He served his King and Country
and was beloved by his fellow men.

Lukin commanded the South African forces at Delville Wood. Anton VAN WOUW was sympathetic to the Afrikaner cause, and was apparently not ecstatic about creating a memorial to glorify a British General. Not widely thought to be one of van Wouw's best works, it is generally accepted that he took the commission for financial reasons.

Two reflecting pools, footpaths and rectangular edged lawns form an integral part of the overall landscaped layout.

[William MARTINSON, with additional information provided by Noƫleen MURRAY. 2010]

All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.


Writings about this entry

Crump, Alan & Van Niekerk, Raymund. 1988. Public sculptures & reliefs Cape Town. Cape Town: Clifton Publications. pg 42, 44