It was declared a National Monument under old NMC legislation on 23 June 1989.This house dating from 1938 was built for the famous sculptor Anton van Wouw and is an example of Norman Eaton’s romantic, organic designs. The thatch roof overhang provides shade for the windows, the face brick finish is typical of the materials that Eaton liked to use in his designs and the house was designed to blend well with nature. It was later used as the Anton van Wouw Museum when the Rembrandt Group, under the direction of Dr Anton Rupert, provided the funds to the University of Pretoria to acquire the house in 1974. The museum is currently on the University of Pretoria’s main campus.
Anton van Wouw
Known as the father of South African sculpture, Anton van Wouw was born in 1862 in Driebergen, close to Utrecht, the Netherlands. After some initial basic training in sculpture he worked for a plastering company and later in a concrete casting factory. At these places he learned important skills for his career as a sculptor. His architect/artist friend Vieillevoye taught him to appreciate architectural styles and to draw truthfully. These vital skills served him well since his move to Pretoria in 1890 and over his lifetime when he created numerous bronze sculptures for important buildings and people. This unpretentious cottage consisting of a verandah, a living room, two bedrooms, kitchen, bath etc. and a small sculpture studio is situated at 111 Sivewright Avenue New Doornfontein. This dwelling is of great historical importance not only in the development of Johannesburg but also as the home and studio of the most famous South African sculptor Anton Van Wouw for over 30 years where he created his famous bronzes of historical events, scenes and personalities in South Africa and especially the famous mother and child works created for the Voortrekker Monument.
Around 1910 the house was owned by a promising young architect from Switzerland Mr Theophile Schaerer. It was occupied by several young bachelors including Anton van Wouw and Gordon Leith. In January 1910 Schaerer lodged plans with the municipality for a proposed studio for Anton van Wouw in the backyard of the house. It was to be a wood and iron structure and was completed in April of the same year at a cost of 110 pounds. In December of the same year plans were submitted for alterations to the house. In 1913 further additions were carried out including the conversion of the wood and iron studio to a brick structure.
Theo Schaerer describes himself as an architect and owner although by this time he had moved to a house in Hillbrow near the Fire Station and in 1914 he had left for Europe. Gordon Leith, architect, submitted plans for an extension to the studio for Anton van Wouw who may have become the owner of the property. It is this brick studio standing 7 metres high with a mansard roof with south facing windows which is the important feature on the site. However it together with the house is much changed in their present role of a restaurant.