Fragile Fynbos – Ceramic sets inspired by the Cape Floral Kingdom

With a passion for the conservation of art as well as the natural habitat, this year, for the annual Franschhoek Art in Clay Festival, La Motte is celebrating the unique beauty of the Cape Floral Kingdom as interpreted by ceramic artists. The flora and fynbos growing on La Motte Wine Estate and in the Franschhoek Mountains serve as inspiration to the invited group of ceramicists for the exhibition, Fragile Fynbos, hosted by the La Motte Museum.

The representation of flowers in art has a long history. The earliest surviving representations date from the late Minoan period in Crete around 1700 years ago! Originally, the two main reasons for flower paintings were either to be decorative or to serve as identification for medical use. In this way, flowers combined the worlds of scientists, travelers and artists.

Between 1750 and 1850, botanical art and illustration reached a peak of sophistication and achievement. This was a period of great discoveries in science, travelers and naturalists ensured a better variety in European gardens, advances were made in printing techniques and a golden age of European wealth led to sponsors and buyers for beautiful gardens and illustrated books.

With the continued discovering of plants as well as the destruction of vulnerable habitats, a sense of urgency to document flora has been raised amongst botanical artists.

For the Art in Clay exhibition at La Motte, each of the featured ceramicists have created a bespoke ceramic set fit for the table. These sets reflect the inspiration drawn from the Cape flora and fynbos, executed in the various techniques and styles this diverse group has to offer. Essentially the sets will bring the beauty and wonder of the Cape Floral Kingdom indoors for La Motte guests to enjoy in the Maturation Cellar of the La Motte Tasting Room.

Featured ceramicists include John Bauer, Elsje Burger, Ceramic Matters, Paul de Jongh, Diane Harper, Amelia Jacobs, Hilda Kruger, Catherine Landman, Ineke Nicolle, Jo Pentz, Lisa Ringwood, Janie Siebert, Sue van Rensburg, David Walters and Sarah Walters.

The Fragile Fynbos exhibition will be on exhibition from 24 October until 28 November 2015, Monday to Saturday, 09:00 – 17:00.

As an addition, for the duration of the festival, the historical influence of flowers as decorative subject on ceramics will also be displayed in the La Motte Museum through selective pieces on loan from the Iziko Social History Collection. The Historic exhibition in the La Motte Museum is open to viewing from Tuesday to Sunday, 09:00 to 17:00.


On 19 November 2015, La Motte also presents a talk on Fynbos of the Cape Floral Kingdom presented by Cherise Viljoen, senior Horticulturist at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. View the exhibition in La Motte’s maturation cellar and listen to her insights and enthusiasm for fynbos in the Cape with specific reference to the flora portrayed in the ceramic exhibition. Cost: Talk R80, Talk with optional Cape Winelands Dinner: R250. Join us for a glass of wine from 18:30.

For reservations to the talk or more information please contact Eliz-Marié Schoonbee at +27 (0)21 876 8850 or email or visit

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