Old Cape Furniture on Exhibition at La Motte

A piece of antique furniture can cause various reactions. Certainly the initial reaction would be based on the aesthetics – the instinctive attraction or dislike, but being antique the next thought would probably be about the history of the piece.

With its commitment to the preservation of culture and heritage, not only did La Motte in 2013 host a talk on Old Cape Furniture presented by acclaimed expert in South African cultural history, Professor Matilda Burden, but now on the back of the release of her book, Ou-Kaapse Meubels – Studies in style (Soon to be translated into English as Old Cape furniture – Studies in styles), the La Motte museum is hosting an exhibition of some prime examples of historic Cape furniture.

For those interested in the history and culture of the Cape, this exhibition aims at creating an understanding of the furniture, its historic reference to style and craftsmanship as well as the stylistic influences from Europe. Professor Burden emphasizes though that furniture science is not just in the interest of academics, “Museum specialists have furniture collections that they are sometimes unable to identify or display correctly. Antique dealers sometimes lack the full understanding and knowledge of the pieces they trade with … and then there is the average person who inherited pieces or who admire furniture in general.” The publication of her research is therefore intended for this broader market aiming to also clear up any myths surrounding Old Cape furniture.


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