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Cape Furniture From The Collection Of Dr Bothma Buitendag, For Sale At Strauss & Co

  3 January 2013     Archived

Strauss & Co is privileged to have been entrusted with the sale of Cape Furniture from the Collection of Dr Bothma Buitendag which will go under the hammer in Cape Town on Monday 4 February 2013.

Bothma Buitendag’s interest in Cape furniture was first ignited when, as a medical student at the University of Pretoria, he visited the National Cultural History Museum of Pretoria. Little did he realise that this was to be the beginning of a life-long passion.At that time the Museum was run by Kotie Roodt-Coetzee, whose contribution to museology is legendary. She encouraged Bothma by off ering advice and assistance in starting his own collection. Amongst some of his early purchases were pieces from the dealer, Victor de Kock, of Vredenhof Antiques, Church Street, Pretoria.

Having qualifi ed as a paediatrician, he fi rst practiced in Pretoria, moving to Tulbagh in the Cape in 1974 and setting up a practice in Worcester. However, as an outlet for his enthusiasm as a collector, he and his partner opened their own antique shop, Tulbagh Antiques, next to Paddagang and opposite the artist, Christo Coetzee, specialising in antique Cape and Colonial furniture, and Oriental ceramics. He derived great pleasure from sourcing pieces for the shop, attending auction sales and often travelling far and wide in pursuit of a particular item. He recalls that he once drove all the way to Nylstroom to look at an armoire and, on another occasion to Philippolis to fetch the pair of stinkwood and witels half-moon tables which are included in this sale (lot 212). He had an untiring eye for quality and enjoyed doing the research. At the time, the only points of written reference were the books by Pearse and Atmore. However, the publication of Anton Obholzer and Michael Baraitser’s books on Cape furniture inspired not only Bothma but a whole new generation of collectors.

Bothma’s view is that Cape furniture is more of a traditional cultural yardstick and that South Africa, because of its Colonial past, is more diversifi ed than some of the other ‘New World’ countries, like America, Canada and Australia. South Africa had the advantage of good craftsmen who came from Europe, bringing with them their design skills. Local timbers were used and a distinctive Cape style developed out of necessity. His favourite pieces are the Transitional Tulbagh chairs which have their own unique Cape vernacular style and the Riversdale jonkmanskas (lot 213), which is featured in Anton Obholzer and Michael Baraitser’s book, Cape Country Furniture.

On his retirement from his medical practice in 1995 he was fi nally able to devote his time to the business which had expanded to include silver, paintings and glass. Following in the tradition of a respected dealer he was able to assist others with their collections, and his opinion was sought after and valued. Amongst these were the pieces recently sold at Keerweder in Franschhoek.

His wish is that the new owners will derive as much pleasure from the collection as he has had over the years in putting it together.

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