The seascapes and striking flowers attracted artists to Hermanus throughout the 20th century. Another one who came frequently and enjoyed the Hermanus view sites was Terence McCaw, who first visited as a young man in 1934. Joey Luyt remembers him clearly:
Mrs John Garlick [owner of the department store Garlicks] telephoned me one day from Stellenbosch. Could we accommodate a struggling young artist with very little money? His name was Terence McCaw, and he was going to Gansbaai to paint the fishermen’s cottages there and then would like to spend some time in Hermanus.
It was during the Season, but we managed to accommodate him by moving him from room to room as one became vacant between bookings. Later, in January, we were able to give him two rooms in the little cottage at Schoongezicht (the Luyt’s own house) that Harold Webb and his band had occupied over the Christmas and New Year holidays. Naturally, we gave Terence specially reduced rates, and he stayed with us for three months.
Terence was saving to go overseas. His paintings in Hermanus sold well (we hung them on the ballroom walls), mainly to overseas and upcountry visitors, and by the time he left Hermanus, he had his fare to England. He was a charming, quiet young man, and we liked him very much. He gave me one of his paintings of an old ruin at Stellenbosch.
McCaw made the trip to London, and learned a great deal, attending the Central School and Heatherley’s School in London. He was also invited to exhibit at the Royal Waterclour Society. When he returned to Johannesburg, he joined a group known as the New Group. In 1938 he settled in Cape Town. In the years before the Second World War, he travelled extensively in West Africa, Spain and Italy, but was back in South Africa when World War II broke out.
His reputation grew, and in 1943 he was appointed as the Official War Artist to the South African Forces. One critic recalls the following about his work in this position:
His pictorial account of people, places and events along the battle fronts won him considerable applause and he returned home to an even more secure position in the public’s favour after he served as official War Artist in North Africa and Italy. McCaw had the approval of the people, and he settled into popular descriptive style, which, because so many other painters share its general features in the Cape, has come to be known as Cape Impressionism.
In the 1950s McCaw took up residence in a house in Hout Bay and completed work for exhibitions each year from 1960 to 1975. After he died in 1978, a Retrospective Exhibition of his work was held in Johannesburg in 1980.