Castell Coch by Paul Sharp


Paul Sharp created a beautiful sketch of Castell Coch for a 1960s motoring guide to castles in the UK. I picked up a copy and discovered a fantastic collection of artwork by the Yorkshire designer.

Front cover of Castles by Hugh Maxwell Casson


Written by E. M. Hatt
Design and Illustration by Paul Sharp
Edited by Sir Hugh Casson

This pocket guide to castles from 1964 was part of a series produced by National Benzole in the 1960s.

The book contains information and illustrations for 40 castles across England, Scotland and Wales.

There are shorter descriptions for other sites grouped by county at the end of the book.

E. M. Hatt

Ella Hatt (1907 – 1972) was an editor and writer. She wrote children’s books alongside editing and translating.

Sir Hugh Casson

Hugh Casson (1910 – 1999) was an architect, designer, artist, writer and broadcaster.

National Benzole was a petrol brand in the UK from 1919 until the 1990s. Perhaps these books were produced to encourage motorists to visit more sites and buy more petrol.

The “Castles”, “Follies” and “Monuments” books were combined and reissued in 1967. This version credits E. M. Hatt and Paul Sharp on the cover and features Castell Coch on the inner title page.

Paul Sharp

Paul Sharp (1912 – 1998) was an accomplished designer and illustrator from West Yorkshire.

After serving in the RAF, Sharp taught at Farnham College of Art until 1960. He then went on to work full time as a graphic designer.

His work was commissioned by renowned clients, including the National Gallery, Sothebys and Royal Doulton.

The number of illustrations he produced across 8 National Benzole books was an enormous task. He drove thousands of miles to visit sites.

This is an aerial view of Castell Coch so he must have based some sketches on photographs. Caerphilly and Cardiff Castle are both included in the main sites and their illustrations are equally impressive.

Pencil illustration of Castell Coch by Paul Sharp

I fell in love with this sketch the first time I saw it. Paul Sharp’s work is 60 years old but feels very contemporary.

Another book in the series was titled “Follies” and The Folly Flaneuse has an excellent post that goes into far more detail than I have. I thoroughly recommend you visit the site and explore their amazing blog!

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Jack is the editor of and