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"Castles and Whitewash" Topic


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T Meier15 Dec 2011 1:15 p.m. PST

I noticed how many of the model castles on this thread: TMP link were bare stone and it got me to thinking. I know by the 14th century castles were nearly always whitewashed and, at least in peacetime had wooden covered galleries on the battlements.

The Welsh castles of Edward I for example were all whitewashed except apparently for Caernarfon. The White Tower of London was first whitewashed in 1240.


I suppose it's something which is usually forgotten like all those classical Greek statues painted and rubbed with wax. If a classical Greek were alive today he's go straight to Madame Tussaud's and exclaim, "Now this is sculpture!"

Personal logo x42brown Supporting Member of TMP15 Dec 2011 1:41 p.m. PST

Stirling castle's great hall

picture
in as near as can be to the original lime wash. Lime wash, Pink wash and a read ochre wash seem to have been the common ones in Scotland.

x42

Dravi74 Inactive Member15 Dec 2011 2:53 p.m. PST

Yep, they liked showing off their wealth and wanted everyone to go "WOW" when they saw the place. People still think the Stirling Castle's Great Hall looks wrong with the lime wash. The statues on top would also have been decorated with gold leaf and quite possibly painted.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Dec 2011 4:10 p.m. PST

As to the wooden galleries – in English & Welsh castles they were only common (as far as we know) where a significant person or a strong garrison were in regular residence. On the continent that was the 'normal' condition of many castles so it seems to have been more prevalent.

Whitewash is, as you say, more common than people expect but mostly it was only maintained for the principal buildings. The curtain walls may have had the odd coat when the King was visiting – at least the bits facing the town – but I doubt England's stingy monarchs would have paid for regular decorating, they could barely afford the upkeep of the roof at some castles, as records often indicate a sorry state of repair.

Little Big Wars Inactive Member15 Dec 2011 4:58 p.m. PST

The same thing applies to ancient Roman and Greek buildings… their buildings were painted in garish colors originally.

Frothers Did It And Ran Away16 Dec 2011 3:59 a.m. PST

There was a chat about this on the Medieval board not so long ago but I can't find it now – obviously "whitewash" wasn't in the thread title…

The Welsh castles of Edward I for example were all whitewashed

The very good model/diorama at Harlech Castle shows it whitewashed which slightly surprised me when I saw it; I don't think I've ever seen a wargaming castle in anything other than grey stone.

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