Lincoln Shell Keep

Image Resources: Web Sources - Museums & Galleries

Available online sources for topographical or antiquarian images of castles and associated architectural features: Drawings / maps / 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:

The King’s Topographical Collection (King George III - British Library collection on Flickr). Contains drawn and printed maps, views and atlases produced between 1500 and 1824. The entire collection can be accessed here.

Historic England - Educational Images - Photographic library

The British Museum

click the box the states: ‘Images only’

Cambridge University Digital Library (especially for John Speed’s Counties of Britain) and

Cambridge University: The Fitzwilliam Museum & Gallery  

(Click: ‘Only with Images’ and ‘Deep x=zoom enable (IIIF)’

The Courtauld Gallery London:

The Royal Collection Trust:

Tate Britain:

Tate Britain - Turner’s sketch books on-line

George Vertue’s Vetusta Monumenta:

The Ashmolean Museum - Oxford (See note, left).

The Yale Center for British Art - Collections:

National Galleries of Scotland

For a few Francis Place images

Francis Towne Images - complete collection:

The National Museum of Wales:

The National Library of Wales:

National Gallery of Ireland:

Art UK:

The Government Art Collection:

The Victoria & Albert Museum (some very good 1850s-70s  castle photographs):

For Samuel and Nathaniel Buck images (1720s - 1750s):

Good sized views but contain a Panteek watermark. And:

Then go to and scroll down

Local /Regional art galleries, many of whom now have good collections online.

Liverpool: Walker Art Gallery Liverpool:

Manchester: (Whitworth Gallery)


Cambridge: The Relhan Collection:

(Cambridge Digital Library - Antiquities in Cambridgeshire drawn by Richard Relhan, 1797-1838 - includes many images of Cambridge castle)

Dealers & retailers in antiquarian prints that have on-line shops/galleries:

For prints from early antiquarian books, see if there is a version of the book online. See the ‘Gatehouse’ website, 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 draughtsman-like, not necessarily the most aesthetic, although the Samuel and Nathaniel Buck prints were often drawn at the request of the owner, so they would sometimes exaggerate a building or a feature that the owner wanted to highlight.

Important 16th, 17th & early 18th century artists/draughtsmen/antiquarians to look for: See also Topographical Prints and Drawings on this website

John Speed (for maps) (1552-1629) British Isles, 1611, with town & county detail

John Norden (c.1547-1625); Anton van den Wyngaerde; Ralph Agas; William Smith;

Braun and Hogenberg; 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].

n 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:

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

Cumbria, N. Lancs & the Lake District:   

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

Kent & Dover:    Captain Durrants Sketchbook (Dover Castle)

Shropshire:        F. Stackhouse-Acton, 1868, The Castles and Old Mansions of Shropshire

Monmouthshire: William Coxe (1747-1828), 1801, An Historical Tour in Monmouthshire

© 2022 Castle Studies Group

The Ashmolean has embarked on a major project to digitise its collections with an initial target of making 25% of the museum's objects available online by 2020. They are  adding and updating records every month. For more information on the project see About.

Newport Castle, Pembrokeshire c 1832, Newton Fielding, 1797-1856, engraver, Pryce Carter Edwards, fl. 1830-1840, artist.