When I was a kid, the idea of building a castle in the backyard was an amazing thing. You could pretty much make it out of any materials you could find and feel like royalty upon completion. Today’s post features an insanely quick little 20 minute 3-color doodlewash of a much more opulent backyard castle. This is Blaise Castle and was built in 1766 near Henbury in Bristol, England. What makes it remarkable is that it initially served no purpose whatsoever except to be a bit of extremely expensive lawn ornamentation. This particular type of structure is known as a “folly,” which would later become a word to refer to any lack of good sense or general foolishness. Although it was actually inhabited for a time and had a highly decorated interior, it was constructed primarily as an elaborate decoration. After building this sham castle, the owner soon went bankrupt. But since it could be viewed from the nearby river Avon, it was admired by many and even mentioned by Jane Austen in her novel Northanger Abbey.
Though castles like these were seen as a folly, it’s kind of wonderful to think about grown adults still wanting to build a castle in their backyard. And apparently, adults with the right means, can make a rather incredible one. I didn’t have this sort of money growing up, so my castles consisted of a series of cardboard boxes. These would be stacked precariously on top of one another and I would enter my fortress merely hoping the entire thing didn’t collapse onto my head. An old bed sheet was all I needed to make a proper flag and in my eyes, at least, it was all a work of art. I’m not entirely sure if any famous passing author saw it and thought to include it in their next novel, like this one, but I like to imagine they did and I just missed that book along the way. It’s not that farfetched as writers and all sorts of artists tend to be inspired by pretty much everything they pass.
Even if I had the extra cash, I doubt I would splurge on a structure like this one. In the end, I prefer my own little constructions that was held together by bits of imagination. And tons of hope, of course, I was pretty much rubbish when it came to construction. But today, I think that approach is still serving me well enough. I make a mad grab for the materials at hand and simply jump in and make something in whatever bit of play time I’ve been allotted that day. What appears as on the page is as much a surprise to me as it must be to all of you when you arrive. Particularly since my titles don’t over reveal the exact subject matter. But, it’s so much fun to make these little posts each day. My rendering is a bit odd, now that I look at it, but the subject matter is equally odd, so I think it was successful. And, if nothing else, it takes me back to those imaginative times of childhood when dreams could be found in backyard castles.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo. Photo Reference: Lukeas09. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!