Hamba Kahle Major Philip Erskine

Major Philip Erskine, the seigneur of Ida’s Valley, passed away yesterday and Stellenbosch has lost a gentleman from another era. I met the major back in 2009 at his home, the original farm house in Ida’s Valley which predates the settlement of Stellenbosch.

philip 300x225 Hamba Kahle Major Philip Erskine

Philip showed me a bottle of Riesling liberated by his father from Hitler’s cellar in the Chancellery in Berlin. As British representative on a four general committee that ruled the defeated Nazi capital, General Sir George Erskine, Marshall Zhukov and their opposite numbers from the French and American armies made good progress on the dictator’s cellar. “They got on like a house on fire” remembers Philip “while their principals, Churchill, Stalin, Truman and De Gaulle squabbled.”

delaire Hamba Kahle Major Philip Erskine

Philip, a gifted painter, was also a fund of anecdotes and stories. Everard Read were his gallerists and let’s hope they feature his landscapes prominently in the series of exhibitions they’re running to celebrate their centenary this year.