William Fehr Collection housed in Rust en Vreugd

Rust en Vreugd. Photo courtesy Damien du Toit

William Fehr (1892-1968) was a private art collector whose paintings, furniture and other objets d’art are housed in two of Cape Town’s most historic buildings, the Castle of Good Hope and Rust en Vreugd.

Fehr’s private collection was first displayed on loan at the Castle in 1952 as part of the Van Riebeeck Tercentenary Festival. Between 1964 and 1965, the South African government acquired the entire Fehr collection, which was split between the Castle and Rust en Vreugd. The Rust en Vreugd collection was donated by Fehr as a gift to the nation.

The artefacts in the William Fehr Collection reflect the period of Dutch colonial settlement between the late 17th and early 19th centuries, as well as the post-1795 era of British occupation. The artworks represent a unique resource for this period of South Africa’s history.

The Castle, Cape Town’s oldest building, houses Fehr’s collection of oil paintings, furniture and decorative arts. Rust en Vreugd houses Fehr’s collection of 16th- to 19th-century pictorial Africana – comprising superb watercolours, etchings and lithographs – which reflects the history of the Cape and early South Africa.

The Castle of Good Hope is located in Cape Town’s central business district and is open daily from 09h30 to 16h00. It is closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Entrance costs R20 for adults (R10 on Sundays), R15 for pensioners with South African pension cards, R10 for students with South African student cards and R10 for children aged 5-16 years (R5 on Sundays). Booked school groups cost R5 per learner. Entrance fees are subject to change without prior notification.

Rust en Vreugd is located near to the Parliamentary buildings and the central business district of Cape Town at 78 Buitenkant Street. It was built in 1778 as a townhouse. Today it is acknowledged as the best example of 18th-century urban architecture in the country. Complementing the graceful home is a period-style garden, landscaped to resemble its original 1786 design.

Rust en Vreugd is open Tuesdays to Thursdays from 10h00-17h00. It is closed from Fridays to Mondays and on public holidays. Entry is free, but donations are welcomed.

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