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Pierneef started work on the Station Panels in 1929. The General Manager of the SA Railways and Harbours was Sir William Hoy. For years he spent his annual vacation at the Marine Hotel in Hermanus, where he took the good air and fished.

 

Fishing with Sir and Lady Hoy

 

The Old Harbour was under the jurisdiction of the SAR&H, and this could explain why Pierneef chose to include it as one of the Panels. Sir William may have enjoyed the artistic rendering of  his retirement town. (Did JHP stay with him when he was in Hermanus? Did they share a bottle of port?) But he may not have relished the prospect of more tourists: He vetoed a railway line from Caledon to Hermanus. The station had already been built in 1912.

 

The station that never saw a train

 

J H Pierneef’s Station Panels are cornerstones of South African landscape painting. They were placed in the old Johannesburg Station as adverts to travel the country.

But did these alluring places ever really exist? And how have they changed?

Taking up the invitation to travel 80 years later, Carl Becker set off to find out.

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