Front cover of "Ruined Abbeys and Castles of Great Britain and Ireland", showing detail of Kenilworth Castle
Medium: Photographic print
This view of the front cover of the mid-Victorian book “Ruined abbeys and castles of Great Britain and Ireland” shows its rich binding in cobalt blue stamped with gold. A worn photographic roundel in the centre is a view looking over a brook towards the hazy towers of Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire, the largest castle ruin in England. It was probably taken by Stephen Thompson, to whom are credited three other photographs of the castle in the book. It is framed by four vignetted shields bearing the symbols of a bishop’s mitre and crook, an abbey bell and cross, a knight’s sword and helmet, and a castle portcullis and spear. The book contains interesting historical essays by the Quaker poet and author William Howitt, illustrated with 26 mounted photographs by Thompson, W. Russell Sedgfield, Thomas Ogle and William Despard Hemphill. It followed an earlier volume on the same theme published in 1862, co-authored by Howitt and his wife Mary, with photographs by Sedgfield, George Washington Wilson, Francis Bedford, McLean & Melhuish, and Roger Fenton.