My love for the pristine, natural beauty or the Graskop area started about 40 years ago!!! A most important objective when creating the castle was to make it blend in with the various hues or greys (like the rock formations) and greens (natural vegetation) of this natural heaven on earth.
The idea was that the castle had to be “discovered” by passing motorists on the Panorama Route opposite the castle (R532), on their way to God’s Window or coming back from the Blyde Canyon.
To finish off the exterior, the natural grey color of cement was stained into various darker hues … and conventional equipment (spray-gun or Tyrolean box) to create an “old” look did not last. One man, Ernest Nyakane did all the exterior Tyrolean finishing by means of a bucket filled with stained cement slurry and a wide brush!!!!!! I knew the green exterior finishes (creepers) would follow rapidly because of abundant rainfall.
This castle was designed and built in unconventional ways. It started with a sculpted clay model used as reference to draw detailed building plans … that in many ways also changed as the building activities progressed. The main façade took form almost on a “day to day” basis. Stained glass windows were anticipated, but I did not expect to do the eventual designs and production myself. Several narrow, mock “castle” windows were added all over the building to make it “breath visually” … large spaces where windows would serve no function, were embellished with these small windows … some were further embellished with stained glass and sconces. A mock window was replaced with an antique round window (and completed with stained glass) simply because it was noticed among recycled building material in a yard of a Johannesburg based demolisher (Breakers Demolition).
Sandstone frames all along the buttresses, as well as horizontal sandstone lines about one meter below the buttresses, were designed and manufactured only once the actual buttresses were completed. The halfmoon lintels above all windows changed when sandstone blocks from the Free State (thanks to Edwin Bell from Kestell who sourced them) became the only “logical” and available choice.
The Main feature was created along the style of Castle Nuovo, Naples, Italy, but with several improvisations.
(Click here Castle in the Mist 2: Beloved Sculpture to view the second of seven short videos about the construction of the castle and other smaller sculptures).
The Main feature was created along the style of Castle Nuovo, Naples, Italy, but with several improvisations. (Click here Castle in the Mist 2: Beloved Sculpture to view the second of seven short videos about the construction of the castle and other smaller sculptures).