History on a plate: tragic SA love story inspires beautiful tableware

Designer Michael Chandler has created a series of stunning blue-and-white plates depicting the story of a pair of ill-fated lovers from the Cape

17 September 2017 - 00:00 By Sarah Buitendach

It's a tale as old as time, reminiscent of Greek mythology, Shakespeare and even contemporary Atwood-esque yarns. Yet this South African story is one that few of us have heard.
Three hundred and three years ago, Maria Mouton, a Huguenot refugee to the Cape, and her lover, a slave named Titus of Bengal, were put to death at the Castle of Good Hope for killing Mouton's husband, Frans Jooste.
Another slave on Jooste's Bartholomeus Klip farm, Fortuijn of Angola, was also executed for the murder.
According to records, the two men had been trying to rescue Mouton from an incident of domestic abuse when Jooste was killed.
Thanks to Cape Town designer Michael Chandler, this historical nugget is set to become dinner-table conversation. Quite literally.
Chandler, an avid heritage researcher and ceramic devotee, has created a series of dinner plates to depict this true-life drama of love across culture, race and social standing.
And here's where the attractive blue-and-white crockery gets even more interesting. Chandler has based the design on the famed willow pattern - the most successful and replicated tableware illustration in history.

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