As the town developed in the direction of Signal Hill at the end of the eighteenth century, the smart residential area of the rich merchants began to expand from Sea Street (Strand Street) towards Bree Street. Only a few stately eighteenth century double-storeyed buildings survive as evidence to this. One of them, number 131, was the residence of Johannes Mattheus Hertzog until 1812. His father, Johan Barthold, was the ancestor of the Hertzog family and the grandfather of Gen. J. B. M. Hertzog. He was a wagon-maker by trade, exceptionally prosperous by the standards of his time and a respected inhabitant of the town. A frequent visitor to the home of the Hertzogs was their compatriot, Anton Anreith, the well-know sculptor, for the youngest of the Hertzog sons, Willem Frederik, was a pupil of Anreith’s and later became his executor. Johannes Mattheus Hertzog had the opportunity and could well afford the luxury of having the front of his house decorated by Anton Anreith. This is how the pediment came to be embellished with two little figures, the one above the other, of Mercury, god of merchants, with a staff in his right hand and a bag of gold in his left. The lower figure has already disappeared but the upper figure has been safeguarded by proclamation of the cornice and pediment as an historical monument.



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