Live Virtual Auction, 17 - 18 May 2021
About this Item
The graceful mansion Northwards, rendered in watercolour by Erich Mayer in the present lot, was originally designed by Herbert Baker in 1904 and built on the Parktown ridge, to the north of the burgeoning settlement of Johannesburg, for Randlord John Dale Lace and his wife Josephine (José). The nine-hectare plot accommodated the main house as well as a caretaker’s cottage, stables, a dairy, an orchard and a vegetable garden. The house sadly burned down only seven years later, but another wealthy Randlord, Sir George Albu, the founder of Genkor, bought the property and rebuilt and extended the house with the help of Swiss architect Theophile Schaerer. After Sir George’s death in 1935, his son, also George, inherited the house and it remained in the family until 1954. The mansion was in its prime when Mayer painted it in 1923, but the area changed as the city grew, and some of the buildings were demolished and the grounds were reduced over time. The most extreme change was when the M1 motorway was built to the east of the house in the 1960s and the old gate and gatehouse had to be demolished. The house and gardens were recently restored to something like their original form by Genkor and they now serve as a nostalgic function venue and historical monument to the lifestyles of the colonial rich and famous.