Online sources for topographical or antiquarian images of castles and associated architectural features: Drawings / engravings / sketches / watercolours etc
A Guide to British Topographical Collections – M W Barley 1974 (by county)
The British Library – online images – (Good for S H Grimm, late C18 and Edward Blore, early & mid C19). Also good for special collections- some early photographically illustrated books: http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/earlyphotos/index.html
The British Museum
click the box the states: ‘Images only’
The Royal Collection Trust:
Tate Britain - Turner’s sketch books online
The Yale Centre for British Art - Collections:
The Gott Collection - Good for Yorkshire images:
For prints of Cumbria, N. Lancs and the Lake District see:
The National Museum of Wales:
The National Library of Wales:
Art UK (was BBC – Your Paintings):
The Government Art Collection:
The Victoria & Albert Museum (some very good 1850s-70s castle photographs):
For Samuel and Nathaniel Buck images (1720s- 1760s):
Good sized views but contain a Panteek watermark. And:
Then go to http://www.castleduncan.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=802 and scroll down
Try also local art galleries, many of whom now have good collections online.
Liverpool: Walker Art Gallery Liverpool:
Dealers in antiquarian prints that have online galleries:
For prints from early antiquarian books, find if there is a version of the book online. See Philip Davis’s ‘Gatehouse’ website, http://www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/home.html under each castle’s bibliography, and go to the link; some websites allow page downloads to save as an image, others (Google) only allow you to print off the page.
As a rule of thumb, the earliest prints/engravings (17th / early 18th century) are the most accurate and draughtsmanlike, not necessarily the most aesthetic, although the Samuel and Nathaniel Buck prints were often drawn at the request (& payment) of the owner, so they would sometimes exaggerate a building or a feature that the owner wanted to highlight. In addition, the perspective is sometimes unusual and distorted in so far as there are features and buildings that could not have been seen with the naked eye or camera from that viewpoint, but which are brought in or unfurled out from the background. A bit like unfolding a tin can to see it all round on one face.
Important 17th & early 18th century artists/draughtsmen/antiquarians to look for:
John Speed (for maps) (1552-1629) British Isles map of 1611, with town / county detail
John Norden (c.1547-1625)
Daniel King (d. c. 1664)
Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677)
Francis Place (1647-1728)
William Stukeley (1687-1775)
George Vertue (1684-1776) (Vetusta Monumenta)
Buck, Samuel (1696-1779) and Nathaniel, (fl 1724-1759), Buck's Antiquities or Venerable Remains of above four hundred Castles, Monastries, Palaces, etc. etc., in England and Wales, (1774). [Most drawings date to the 1730s & 40s].
In the late 18th & 19th century there was an explosion of good artists painting in the ‘Sublime’ or ‘Picturesque’ fashion and many took liberties with the landscape and buildings’ features to create a ‘Romantic’ or bucolic or arcadian scene. This includes J M Turner, a major practitioner of this genre, however delightful his paintings are. So not everything seen can be believed. The better artists, for accuracy, are listed below:
- Thomas Pennant (1726-1798) (A Tour in Wales) 1778 & 1781. Two Vols. Many illustrations by Moses Griffith (see below)
- Samuel Heironymus Grimm (1733-1794) (most examples found in the British Library online). They possess 2660 drawings and 660 watercolours; strong on Sussex & N.E
- Francis Grose (1731-1791) (Grose’s Antiquities of England and Wales). Vols. 1-8
- Paul Sandby (1731-1809) If one wanted "real Views from Nature in this Country", declared Gainsborough in 1764, there was no better artist than Sandby, who frequently "employ'd his pencil that way’. Noted for his views of Windsor Castle.
- Edward King (1735-1807), antiquarian; (Munimenta Antiqua, or, Observations on Ancient Castles) 1796 -1804, 4 Vols.
- Thomas Hearne (1744-1817) + engraver William Byrne (1743-1805) (The Antiquities of Great Britain), 1786-1807. 2 Vols. One of the finest exponents of topographical landscapes. See: The Antiquities of Great Britain (2 Vols) 1786 & 1807.
- Moses Griffith (1749-1819) (Also worked for Thomas Pennant & Francis Grose).
- Sir Richard Colt Hoare (1758-1838). Numerous illustrations for William Coxe’s ‘A Historical Tour in Monmouthshire’ (in 2 Vols. 1801). (Plates are signed ‘RH’)
- John Britton ( antiquarian & publisher), (1771-1827) (The Beauties of England and Wales) (1801-15) (used various artists & engravers) 18 Vols.
- James A. Storer (1771-1853) The antiquarian and topographical cabinet; containing a series of elegant views of the most interesting objects of curiosity in Great Britain, 1817
- Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) A friend of J M Turner.
- William Woolnoth (1780-1837) & Brayley, E. W, (The ancient castles of England and Wales; engraved by William Woolnoth, from original drawings. With historical descriptions by E.W. Brayley) Two Vols. 1826
- John Varley (1778-1882)
- John Sell Cotman (1782-1842)
- David Cox (1783-1859) One of the greatest English landscape painters, and a major figure of the Golden age of English watercolour
- Edward Blore (1787-1879) See British Library for his pencil drawings
- Henry Gastineau (1791-1876)
- John Chessell Buckler (1793-1894)
- R W Billings (1813-1874) (For Scotland and the North East).
- Turner, T. H. and Parker, J. H., 1859, (Some account of Domestic Architecture in England) 4
For local studies, antiquarian prints can be found in various county topographical series:
Cornwall: William Borlase (1695-1772), 1769: Antiquities Historical and Monumental of the County of Cornwall
Herefordshire: Thomas Bonnor (1798-1815), Perspective Itinerary……..…of Ten views of Goodrich Castle (Vol. II, 1798). Published by J Cary.
Robinson, C. J., 1869, The Castles of Herefordshire and Their Lords
Shropshire: F. Stackhouse-Acton, 1868, The Castles and Old Mansions of Shropshire
Monmouthshire: William Coxe (1747-1828), 1801, An Historical Tour in Monmouthshire