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Rust en Vrede
Muizenberg, Western Cape

Sir Herbert BAKER: Architect

Client:Abe Bailey
Style:Cape Dutch Revival
Street:Main Road


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34°06'49.86" S 18°27'52.20" E Alt: 23m

In Rhodes' last years he went to live in his tiny cottage by the sea at Muizenberg, away from the cold and damp of Groote Schuur. Just above his cottage, Rhodes planned with BAKER a house 'on a great high terrace-wall, designed so that from the house and stoep the public road would be hidden, and there would be seen through white columns the fullest sweep of the blue sea and rhythm of white surf, and the two far-off mountain promontories which shelter the entrance to False Bay'.

This dream was never to be fulfilled, as Rhodes had an even more burning desire: that he might save sufficient monies to endow scholarships at Oxford - the Rhodes Scholarships. So the house was, left unfinished. However, Sir Abe Bailey completed Rust en Vrede, from the foundations upwards, building it according to the original plan commissioned by Rhodes. BAKER's watercolour perspective drawing shows the house roughly as it was built: white, with tall gables and twisting chimneys against the soft red-ochre of the roof, all grouped above arcaded loggias. It was the prototype of houses Baker was yet to build in other parts of Africa.

The interior is a mixture of styles, with Lutyensesque countrified beamed ceilings contrasting with a sophisticated and almost Art Deco green marble drawing room. There are typical BAKER features such as the specially designed and finely made furniture and endless kitchen quarters which pertain to another age - as do the richly tiled toilet facilities in the bedrooms.

Whilst designing Rust en Vrede BAKER recalled how all the years he worked for Rhodes he had been termed 'mean' because he would not be too lavish in his use of rare building materials. He felt such wealth as Rhodes possessed to be beyond his experience and understanding. (Picton-Seymour 1989:47)

The house is part of the Muizenberg Historical Mile.

FE MASEY may have been the supervising architect.
1903: Stables were added by BAKER and MASEY (Pryce-Lewis list 14 309).

(UCT BC 206: Box 33-4; SAA&B Sep 1904:214-5; Afr Archt Oct 1912:69; Pryce-Lewis list 14 285).

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

Greig, Doreen. 1970. Herbert Baker in South Africa. Cape Town: PURNELL. pg 64-7
Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1989. Historical Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: Struikhof Publishers. pg 47
Walker, Michael. 2012. Early architects of Cape Town and their buildings (1820 - 1926) with postcard illustrations, The. St James: Michael Walker. pg 140