In the article below, journalist Lucille Davie explores one of Johannesburg's architectural delights: Circa gallery. The piece was originally published on the City of Joburg's website on 6 February 2009. Click here to view more of Davie's work.
Charles Thrupp arrived in South Africa from the United Kingdom in 1882 and made his way to King Williams Town to take up a job with a local wholesaler. As the gold fields of the Rand began to boom, the firm called on Thrupp to open and manage a store in Johannesburg. After a few years of solid trade, the branch hit hard times and had to close its doors in 1892. For most employees this would have meant looking for another job but Thrupp saw Johannesburg's potential and acquired the grocery side of the ailing business.
These sketches were drawn in 1966 as part of a first year student project at Wits. It involved taking a walk through a familiar built environment and documenting the various textures and vistas that one encountered. I was still struggling to develop a drawing style of my own, and the kind of clean pen-and-ink drawings that mark my later work were yet to evolve.
His name is immortalised in one of Johannesburg's most well-known streets, it is inscribed on the foundation stone of the landmark Johannesburg Library and it is painted on his old office which is now home to the popular Arts on Main in the Maboneng Precinct. But who was D.F. Corlett? The following article published in the South African Builder in September 1923 gives some insight into the man.