Castell Coch by J M Staniforth

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Two of the favourite items in my collection are these illustrations of Castell Coch by Joseph Staniforth. They were printed in a supplement to “The Builders Journal and Architectural Record” on Wednesday, December 21 1898.

Joseph Morewood Staniforth is known for his Welsh editorial cartoons. They were published in several newspapers including the News of the World, Evening Express and Western Mail.

He was born in 1864 in Gloucestershire and the family moved to Cardiff in 1870. Staniforth himself left school at 15 without any formal qualifications and became an apprentice lithographer with the Western Mail. He studied at the Cardiff School of Art.

In 1889 he began publishing cartoons after the Western Mail’s editor spotted his work.

Professor Chris Williams, Head of the College of Arts, Celtic Studies & Social Sciences at University College Cork, led a project in 2013 to digitise thousands of examples of Staniforth’s work.

“He reflected society back to his audience in terms they’d identify with, and as such they’re a little window on the culture at the time.”

Prof Chris Williams

Unfortunately, I don’t know if there was an accompanying article for the illustrations. The castle’s external work was completed around 1879 and the interior finished in 1891 so the supplement doesn’t coincide with an important date in its history.

The illustrations are in the artist’s style but the figures in courtyard are more realistic than his cartoons. Staniforth also created illustrations for children’s books and postcards alongside more realistic pieces to depict news items.

I love the cross-hatching technique used to render the textures and volume in the scenes. I’ve framed both pictures and they have pride of place in my office.

View from the Courtyard

Supplement to The Builders’ Journal and Architectural Record, Wednesday, December 21, 1898.

Illustration of Castell Coch

View from Courtyard looking towards entrance. Sketched by J. M. Staniforth

J M Staniforth

Joseph Morewood Staniforth is known for his Welsh editorial cartoons and was described as “…the most important visual commentator on Welsh affairs ever to work in the country”.

Self portrait of J M Staniforth
Self-portrait, from Cartoons Volume I (1908)

Image from “Cartooning: The Road to War”

Joseph had been working as a cartoonist for nearly ten years when he drew these illustrations of Castell Coch.

He also created Dame Wales or Ma Cymru, “a middle-aged woman in traditional Welsh costume who dispensed home truths in a Valleys vernacular to lords and striking miners alike”. She was the equivalent of John Bull, who represented England in cartoons.

Joseph passed away on the 21st December 1921 in Barnstaple, Devon.

Cartooning the First World War

The “Cartooning” series of websites cover Joseph’s work during three distinct periods.

The Road to War

Cartooning the Road to War brings together a selection of the pre-1914 newspaper cartoons of Joseph Morewood Staniforth, which originally appeared in the British Sunday paper the News of the World, the Cardiff daily paper the Western Mail, and the Cardiff evening paper the Evening Express.

Old postcard of cartoon woman sledging

Picture Postcard, 24 December 1910

The First World War

Cartooning the First World War brings together all the wartime newspaper cartoons of Joseph Morewood Staniforth, which originally appeared in the British Sunday paper the News of the World and the Cardiff daily paper the Western Mail.

The Post-War World

Cartooning the Post-War World brings together all the newspaper cartoons of Joseph Morewood Staniforth, which originally appeared in the British Sunday paper the News of the World and the Cardiff daily paper the Western Mail, between the end of the First World War in November 1918 and the death of Staniforth in December 1921.

JM Staniforth cartoon from 1917
The first of three cartoons drawn on the theme of the visit of the “Tank Bank” to Cardiff between 9 and 16 December 1917.

Image from “Cartooning: The First World War”

Cartooning the First World War project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and based at University College Cork, where it is led by Professor Chris Williams, Head of the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences.

The Builders’ Journal

The Builders Journal and Architectural Record was originally published in 1895. It was eventually renamed “Architects’ Journal” and remains in print today.

The Builders Journal and Architectural Record
The Builders Journal and Architectural Record – Vol. XIV, No. 362

Image from the Science Museum Group

View from the Corridor

Supplement to The Builders’ Journal and Architectural Record, Wednesday, December 21, 1898.

Illustration of Castell Coch

Castle Coch: View from the Corridor. Sketched by J. M. Staniforth

Sources

Profile photo of Jack

About the author

Jack is the editor of CastellCoch.com and Tongwynlais.com.

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