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Feature Painting:

The Pale Hillside

by Bertha Everard

The Pale Hillside hung in the main hall at Bonnefoi for many years. Holding pride of place along side Bertha's other masterpieces "Looking towards Swaziland', "Lekkerdraai I", and "The Moonrise", all now hanging in the National museums of South Africa.

It is only when you see it in the flesh do you fully appreciate it's complexity. The paint almost appears to drip off the canvas under the searing african heat. Painted with thick, generous paint applied with a palette knife, the subtle pinks and yellows depict the rich "rooi grass' pastures which made the land such good grazing for the Everard's sheep and cattle druing the winter months.

It was painted at Lekkerdraai, where the family moved during the winter months. The landscape here held a certain fascination for the Everards, who returned repeatedly to the same spot to capture the everchanging mood and expanse of land and sky. Even returning long after the painting expeditions ceased, in 1975, Ruth's husband captured the scene in 8mm cine.



cine clip taken in 1975 at Lekkerdraai where the Everards painted.


Bertha would have agonised over the painting, taking several months, and driving herself to near exhaustion before its completion.

Bertha studied at the Bushy School of Art in Hertfordshire where they were encouraged to paint in the field. She took this practice with her to Africa where she would haul her paints and canvas into the African veld. Not stopping whilst raising her three children, she would continue working with her son Sebastian tied to her back in a blanket.

Please look out for a further article on this painting to follow in our next edition.

Bertha painting in the field


'The Pale Hillside', by Bertha Everard, circa 1909

Oil on canvas, ----cm


The Lekkerdraai mountains 1975

Taken from an 8mm cine film by Ruth's husband in 1975 whilst out on a family outing to Lekkedraai

Taken 40 years ago and yet the pinks and yellows of the veld still as evident as those depicted in the 'Pale Hillside'






by Rosamund Everard-Steenkamp


Nichola Leigh

21 October - 8 November 2008

UCT, Irma Stern Museum, Cape Town

The Pale Hillside

by Bertha Everard






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