Drawn by John Preston Neale (1780-1847) Engraved by Frederick Rudolph Hay (b.1784)

Drawn by John Preston Neale (1780-1847) Engraved by Frederick Rudolph Hay (b.1784)

Drawn by John Preston Neale – Engraved by Frederick Rudolph Hay


This charming engraving shows Colchester Castle after it was restored by its owner Charles Gray It is described it as one of the Beauties of England and Wales by the artist. One of the most important historic buildings of the country, it was not however always thought as such. Built by the Normans in the 11th century on the base of the ruined Roman Temple of Claudius, it was used for much of its life as a prison, most infamously to imprison and interrogate suspected witches in the 17th century. In 1726 the castle was given as a wedding present to Charles Gray. After its restoration to the designs of James Deane and his successor James Round between 1746 and 1804, the castle was used as a home, the main tower being a library. It was eventually sold to Colchester Borough Council and was open to the public as a Museum in 1860, nearly 50 years after this engraving was produced. For more information on the castle see engravings by A. K. Glover and William Henry Bartlett in the catalogue.


John Preston Neale was a watercolourist, draughtsman and illustrator specialising in landscapes and architectural views. He reproduced many castles and monuments of England. His most notable publication was The History and Antiquities of the Abbey Church of Westminster published in 1818 and 1823. A large number of his sepias and watercolours of churches, castles and parks can be found in the Victoria and Albert Museum and Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1797 to 1844, at the British Institution, at the Society of Painters in Watercolours from 1817 to 1818 and at the Suffolk Street Gallery in London. He died in Tattingstone near Ipswich.

Frederick Rudolph Hay was a line engraver of small bookplates including landscapes and topographical views after his contemporaries.



  • COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCIL, Colchester Castle: A History, Description and Guide, Colchester, Essex, 1981
  • BETTLEY, James and PEVSNER, Nikolaus, The Buildings of England – Essex, Yale, 1994

Evelyne Bell