Crazy Mad Gothic

Castell Coch and Cardiff Castle belong together as both were restored and transformed by John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute working with his primary architect and designer William Burgess.

Castle Coch

This is annoyingly presented in much tourist information as some sort of folly but it is very far from it.  Both Bute and Burgess were very serious about the Gothic Revival and the former sunk something 10% of his admittedly vast income into the work on Coch and Cardiff castles.  Also Castle Coch is not some fantasy concoction.  It is built on the remains of an original Norman castle and followed a detailed excavation of the site.

Whether one likes the Gothic style or not it is a remarkable piece of design and craftsmanship.

From inside the circular courtyard
From inside the circular courtyard

The three Fates
The three Fates

Drawing room ceiling
Drawing room ceiling

Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle is set right in the middle of the city and is really just a few buildings surrounded by a wall.  It does have a medieval keep but really the most important aspect of the castle is the set of Gothic rooms created by Marquess Bute and Burgess.  The style is instantly recognizable from Castle Coch but has here been taken to a quite crazy level.

2015-03-12 16.03.14   2015-03-12 16.01.55 2015-03-12 14.57.13

There is so much to show of both these two castles that I will create a Gallery for browsing.

Despite the all the amazing visuals the actual highlight of Cardiff Castle was the private tour we had, by which I mean we were the only ones on that particular tour, which lasted for an hour and was conducted by une petite fille francaise who was no more than knee-high to le grasshopper and who was totally enthused by the Gothic style.  We were able to ask questions and discuss all the finer points of the relationship of the designs to the pre-Raphaelites and the Arts & Crafts movement have everything explained in un tres charmant French accent.

2 thoughts on “Crazy Mad Gothic

  1. Kate March 16, 2015 / 5:46 pm

    The Marquess of Bute and his family used these castles as summer homes. Castle Coch was mainly used for parties. They are real stone castles, really cold with ridiculously narrow and winding stairs cases…. so uncomfortable to live in but the interiors are visually awesome.


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