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Arts and Crafts


A late C19 movement with the objective of reviving traditional building crafts and the use of local materials, instigated by William Morris in response to the crass styling of mass produced items shown at the Great Exhibition (1851) and advocated by John Ruskin. It had advocacy in Germany in the early C20, and its influence is seen in South Africa through both the English and Dutch schools of thought. In the offices of Sir Ernest Peto the young Herbert BAKER and Edwin LUTYENS were under the strong influence of the movement and so it reflects particularly in BAKER’s Anglican Church architecture, and houses for the ‘Randbarons’ on Parktown Ridge. Another young architect under its sway was Victor JONES, who prior to coming to South Africa, served apprenticeship with Liberty's. His partnership with Herbert Mc WILLIAMS in Port Elizabeth has given South Africa some of its finest Arts and Crafts architecture, for example the Harbour Building (1905).

Queen Anne Style, with its distinctly Dutch origins, was fashionable in England at the time, and Baker’s affinity for the Arts and Crafts movement would have engendered in him an appreciation for the Cape vernacular, hence his fostering of the Cape Dutch Revival as part of the South African Arts and Crafts architectural tradition.