Dover Coloring Book

Text Box with description of Book

This is yet another of A.G. Smith's architecture coloring books, of which I believe I own just about all of them, or at least all that have been in print since 2009, plus some that are out of print. This one is a real treasure, especially if you love castles, and gosh, who doesn't love the age of knights in armor?

Most of these castles are from that era, spanning the long period known as Medieval or the Middle Ages. They are the traditional fortresses built for protection against invaders, but a few are from more modern times, built strictly for the pleasure and luxury of a very wealthy person.

All of them are still standing, in various states of amazing upkeep or crumbling and decayed. I found photos of all of them online, which is in itself astonishing. Most of the photos were very helpful, enabling me to get just the right angles, with just a few exceptions. There is a truly awesome website called Great Castles, the source for much of my photo research. They have an extensive photo gallery for each castle shown, from England (63,) Scotland (8), Wales (14), Ireland (8), Germany (41), and France (15), Wow! That's a lot of castles! The pictures show both interior and exterior views, and seeing the dungeon photos makes me cringe at the horror of being imprisoned in one. Living in a Medieval Castle probably wasn't all that romantic! Wikipedia was also a great source for photos, plus I found some travel and individual websites for a few.

All of the castles pictured in the coloring book are in Europe except for one in Japan, and one in Syria that, sadly, has been recently bombed and damaged. Most of them, however, are located in the British Isles. There are two "demo" pictures showing typical set-ups for the period, including a primitive "Motte-and-Bailey" type and a "Norman Castle" type from about 1200.

This was a very challenging book for me, and took me forever to finish because I really wanted to get everything just right. And it paid off. I wanted to post them all—they're so cool. I had to limit myself, but I didn't do a very good job at that, ending up with twelve examples, way more than I usually post. There are 31 pictures to color in this book and most take up two pages. One other note—most traditional fortress-type castles were built on the water for protection, and that provided the biggest challenge for coloring—getting those reflections as accurate as possible. All are done in crayon. This book was truly a labor of love.

Here is one of the two generic pages that is not a real castle but a typical set-up, in this case a "Motte-and-Bailey" type, dating from William the Conqueror in 1066. Pages 4-5.

The next one is Krak des Chevaliers in Syria damaged by airstrikes in 2013. The atrocities of war go beyond human loss, when structures such as these also suffer. It was built in the eleventh century as an Arab fortress, taken over and enlarged by the Knights of St. John (Hospitallers) in 1142. In the thirteenth century it was surrounded by an outer wall, and in 1271, taken over by the Moslems. Pages12-13.


Krak des Chevaliers

This was the first one I did that I felt I really got the reflection right, and also the mossy-colored stone. It was my favorite for a while, but then others came along as you shall see! Caerphilly Castle is located in Glamorgan, Wales, and was built in the late thirteenth century by Gilbert de Clare. Pages 14-15.

Bodiam Castle, Sussex, England, is one of the two pictures in this book that I consider to be a masterpiece. I found the photo on the Great Castles site mentioned above, and everything just turned out perfect—the colors of the stone, the reflection. I am truly proud of my work!! It was built from 1386 to 1390 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge as a defense against the French in the Hundred Years' War. Pages 26-27.

Caerphilly Castle

Bodiam Castle

Carisbrooke Castle is on the Isle of Wight, England and was built in the early fourteenth century as defense against the French raiders. The holes are gunports. Page 20.

This one is actually a private tower house, but also built for protection. Claypotts is in Dundee, Scotland. It was built on the "Z"-shape plan between 1569 and 1588. Page 33.

Leaving the British Isles, we head to Segovia, Spain. Alcázar is located on another favorite castle location—high upon a rock. It was begun in the eleventh century, but was expanded as a royal palace in the early fifteenth century. Page 36.

Carisbrooke Castle



Known for its Tower Of London, Edinburgh Castle in Scotland also sits high on a rock. It has been battered, razed and restored over the centuries. Most of the present castle was built in the sixteenth century. Mary Queen of Scotts gave birth to James I here in 1566. Pages 38-39.

Here is yet another rock-top castle, but this one was built strictly for luxury. Located in Neuschwanstein, Germany, Ludwig II of Bavaria, called "Mad Ludwig," built it as an indulgence. Page 44.

Edinburgh Castle

Neuschwanstein, Germany

The Tower of Belém was built by Francisco d'Arruda in the sixteenth century. It is located on the Tejo (Tagus) River near Lisbon, Portugal. Page 45.

Next is the second of my two true masterpieces! Château de Chenonceaux, Touraine, France was built as a "pleasure castle," château de plaisance. The fortified bridge and drum towers were strictly for architectural effect. It is located on the River Cher. I really had to search for a photo of the correct angle for this one. Incidentally, I drew those reflections in freehand with crayon! You may see the helpful photo of this one on the Architecture Index page. Pages 46-47.

Tower of Belém

Château de Chenonceaux

This one was the last I completed in the book, and it was not my intention to include it. I was planning to include these two exquisite photos from Wikipedia, but when I saw how my picture turned out, well. . . Anyways, it is Eilean Donan Castle on the island of Donan on the west coast of Scotland. It was owned by the MacRaes since 1509, but destroyed by the British in 1715. Restoration began in 1912, Pages 42-43. Please note: I don't have a very good photo editing program, but the colors are much more accurate on my picture than they appear. Pages 42-43.

Eilean Donan Castle

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Eilean Donan Castle

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Eilean Donan Castle

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