Louis Botha – Boer war hero, big-hearted politician, and the first prime minister of the Union of South Africa – left an indelible mark on his country’s history. His bravery and sense of duty prompted the highest praise both during and after his lifetime. Winston Churchill, for instance, spoke of him often, and fondly: ‘Few men that I have known have interested me more (than) this grand, rugged figure, the Father of his country, the wise and profound statesman, the farmer-warrior … the deep, sure man of solitude.’
The present Lot is one of three known bronze castings of this bust, and the only one not to be in state hands: both the other known castings belong to Parliament, and are kept in Pretoria and Cape Town. Each was cast at the newly-identified Buongirolami foundry in Rome and, thanks to a 1924 photograph in the Van Wouw House Collection showing the collection of Sir Hugh Levick, would likely have been produced in or around 1923 before the unveiling of the General Louis Botha monument in Durban.