Monday, February 22, 2016

The Laubscher Doll Collection In The Reinet House In Graaff Reinet

The Reinet House in Graaff Reinet is a Cape Dutch building completed in 1812. It was initially built as a parsonage, but now serves as a museum. Other than the collections on display, visitors can marvel at one of the largest living grape vines in the garden, that was planted in 1870 and continues to bear fruit.

The Laubscher Doll Collection is one of the main attractions of the museum. Anna Laubscher began making dolls in 1915 when there were none to be found in Graaff-Reinet over Christmas.

Dolls were not commercially manufactured in South Africa before the second half of this century with the exception of the Laubscher doll of Graaff Reinet and the Flora doll of Somerset East. From the end of the 19th century until the outbreak of the First World War, most dolls were imported from Germany to South Africa. 

When the war broke out in 1914 the importation of dolls to South Africa stopped. The supply of dolls in South African shops, especially the smaller and less expensive ones dwindled until they were unobtainable. This lack of supply led to the manufacture of dolls in South Africa.

The creation of the first Laubscher doll took place in 1915 when Anna Laubscher was unable to buy a doll locally as a Christmas present for her four year old niece. The Laubscher family lived in Donkin Street in Graaff Reinet at the time and Mr Laubscher, a creative and innovative man himself, was the head of a family whose members had many artistic skills. Mrs. Laubscher was known to be an excellent seamstress and the eldest daughter called Annie had studied art and had herself a small studio and art school in Graaff Reinet.
So it was not really unusual that Mr Laubscher suggested, that the family should make a doll for their niece, Marie.
The inspiration for this doll came from an American cloth doll, that was owned by Joan Strange a young visitor to Graaff Reinet.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Scenes From The Geese And Duck Paradise

Muscovy Duck

Can be quite aggressive

Muscovy Duck Pair

The new pond, not yet finished has been already taken over by the future beneficiaries

Something I could eat?

Getting in is easier than out!

Breeding Goose

Don't mess with me

While others- busy with their nest could not be bothered less

Monday, August 19, 2013

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Springbokke Of The Somerset East Hotel

Pool Table With The Wall Mural Of The Somerset East Springbokke

In the old Victorian Somerset East Hotel situated in the small Karroo town of the same name, which was founded by Lord Charles Somerset in 1825, you will find a room with a pool table standing on dark, polished Meranti floors, some dart boards, a Bamboo lounge suite covered with blankets - and a wall mural of the "Somerset Springbokke". Figure that!

The view across the street from the Hotel's Beer Garden to the Boschberg Mountains

The owner of the hotel, who relocated from Cape Town to Somerset East a couple of years ago, to bring the calm and the peace of the Karroo into his and his family's life said the mural was already there, when he bought the hotel. 

How can you not find peace and tranquility, if you own a Victorian hotel in a quaint, serene little town that's as famous for the natural beauty as it is for its many beautiful provincial heritage sites, situated at the foot of the Boschberg Mountains.

The Somerset - Oos Wall Mural Of The Springbokke

The story goes, that an artist passing through Somerset East offered to paint a mural for the pool room and for the adjoining bar in exchange for accommodation and food for a week.

The Springbokke in all their pride

It was done deal and so the "Somerset East Springbokke" wall mural saw the light of the day!

and glory......

After finishing the Springbokke mural, the unknown artist dedicated more of his time to the large bar walls and the landscapes he painted on all the bar walls are full of African magic. They are so nice, that they deserve a special post, which I will deliver shortly.

The Springbokke Eternalised On The Walls Of The Pool Room Of The Somerset East Hotel

Apart from the wall mural the hotel kitchen offered mighty portions of Fish and Chips with salad and onions rings, that were served in the small beer garden overlooking the main street and the  forested, mountainous backdrop creating a dramatic setting for the town.

Most of the provincial heritage sites in Somerset East are all buildings and even though the bar of the Somerset Hotel is not counted amongst them, we think by its impressive appearance it belongs in-officially to the same category!

A Decent South African Karroo Bar

The Somerset East Hotel Bar- Equipped And Decorated As It Should Be In True South African Style

The Somerset East Hotel

With upstairs balconies, flags and lots of room

The Owner Of The Somerset East Hotel Has Found Peace In Somerset East 

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