Artist Profiles

Charles Theodore Villet

B.A.(Sc.) (Cape), M.A., M.D. (T.C.D.), F.R.C.S. (Irel.)

Charles’ Life


Dr Charles Theodore de Mornet Villet born in Cape Town in 1896. He qualified as a medical doctor in Cape Town and specialised in Ireland and practiced in Wynberg for many years, earning a reputation as a surgeon of exceptional skill. After he retired he settled in Worcester and continued with his hobbies of collecting succulents and painting.

He painted for many years in watercolour capturing many unrepeatable Cape Town scenes and in oils on a variety of surfaces mostly board and canvas covered board often painted back and front.. He seldom signed his work like has forebear Jean Villet.

He was an extremely competent artist experimenting with and following the impressionist style.
He and his wife were also very involved in collecting succulents discovering many new species.
He was generally known as Mornet and had two children, a son who became a photographer and worked mainly abroad and a daughter Cynthia who is also a talented artist. She currently lives in Kenilworth in Cape Town.

Dr Villet died in Barbados in 1963 whist visiting his daughter who was living there at the time.
Much of his work remains unsigned and is either stamped on the reverse with a studio rubber stamp authenticated by his daughter reading “Cynthia Villet for C T Villet”.

The works in this collection are authenticated by ourselves in consultation with Cynthia Villet and are rubber stamped. Certificates of authenticity are supplied with each painting and they are numbered and recorded as such.

The Villet family was originally French, his great grandfather Charles Mathurin had settled in Cape Town in 1797 having arrived from Haiti. He was an impressario and dealer in Natural History material and worked from an establishment at 42 Long St (corner of Wale and Long Sts) Cape Town. In 1819 he also established a menagerie in Green Point known as “Aux Champs de Fleurs” which was visited by many travelers from abroad. When the South African museum opened in 1823 he was a major contributer of exhibits.

He died on 8th June 1856.

His son Jean (Carolus Johannes) took over the business and taught and illustrated Cape Plants even sending a work “Orothamnus zeheri” to Kew Gardens in the mid 19 Century

He did not sign his work.


13 Aberdeen Rd, Newlands, Cape Town, 7700