Origin of Roses and Castles (Again)

I have to admit that I don't often buy Canal Boat magazine. Some time ago I decided that two canal magazines a month was just too many, so I chose Waterways World. When I was a regular reader of Canal Boat the column that I read most avidly was that by Hugh McKnight on canal history. It was therefore a happy coincidence that recently I found myself browsing the magazine shelf in a newsagent that I don't often visit and I found the latest edition of Canal Boat (October 2009) containing a great article by Hugh on the origin of Roses and Castles.

It was to Hugh that I first turned a few years ago when I was seeking to identify the painter of our small old "water can". He suggested we contact Tony Lewery who finally identified it as early Nurser Brothers, painted around 1911. Our can is very similar to that shown on page 63 of Canal Boat.

Hugh appears to have covered the area very well and found some excellent examples of the 19th century artwork that appears to have inspired the boat painters. One illustration he uses in his article particularly caught by attention. He shows a 18th century Dutch Delft tile from a fireplace surround showing a castle scene that is very similar to the narrow boat painters Castles. When were recently in Tallinn we visited the famous Kadriorg Palace which was built as a summer palace for the Russian Tsars. In almost every room are large 18th century stoves decorated with similar Delft tiles. We were so taken with them, and their obvious links to boating Castles, that we took several photographs of them.

Delft Tile Stove, Kadriorg Palace, Tallinn, Estonia

Several Castle Scenes on Tiles

Close-up of Castle Scenes

Sorry about the flash highlights! - I took the photographs very quickly on my Nokia N95

So again it appears that the hypothesis that Roses & Castles have a long popular art tradition is supported.

Steve Parkin