Engraver and Illustrator William Alfred Delamotte (1775-1863)

William Alfred Delamotte, who was born in Weymouth in 1775, the son of a French refugee,​ won early recognition as a draughtsman of great technical precision. For his remarkable drawings he received the patronage of no less a visitor to the Dorset seaport than His Majesty, King George III. At the age of eighteen he exhibited several paintings at the Royal Academy in London, and then the next year registered at the Royal Academy Schools. Altghough he studied here under one of the greatest historical painters of the age, Benjamin West, another of the King's protégés and President of the Royal Academy, Delamotte preferred doing architectural studies and landscapes, the two chief types of wood-engravings among his illustrations for William Harrison Ainsworth Windsor Castle. An Historical Romance. After his studies at the Academy, he moved to Oxford, where he enjoyed sketching its stately colleges and churches. In 1803 he accepted the post of drawing-master at the recently established Royal Military College at Sandhurst, a position that he held for forty years. Just towards the end of his employment there, aged 58, he accepted the Ainsworth commission to provide the kinds of wood-engravings that George Cruikshank had provided for The Tower of London in 1840. Here he deployed his considerable skill as a sketch-artist, wood-engraver, print-maker and lithographer, designing a hundred plates generally dropped right into the letterpress. He died in retirement, in Oxford, in​ 1863, aged eighty-eight.

Although Delamotte's​eighty-seven woodcut illustrations amply describe the Home Park, the Great Park, and the Castle's architectural features, he shows very little of the town of Windsor as it must have appeared in the summer months of 1842. However, he does depict in three full-page engravings a plan for​ the 5,000-acre Windsor Great Park as it probably looked in 1529, as well as two plan views of Windsor Castle, as it must have looked in 1530, and as it appeared to him in 1843.​The three-volume edition of 1843 contained only three of the steel etchings by Cruikshank, with one serving as the frontispiece; however, the serialised version in Ainsworth's Magazine contained all of the Tony Johannot, Cruikshank, and Delamotte illustrations. During the initial volume publication of the novel, over 30,000 copies were sold, and the work was in high demand, despite the fact that the triple-decker contains only three​ illustrations. The single-volume edition of 1844, however, contains all of the Delamotte, Johannot, and Cruikshank plates.

Ainsworth instructed Delamotte as to precisely the kinds of sketches he wanted executed for Windsor Castle in a letter: I shall be glad to see you to a family dinner at half-past three o'clock to-morrow — Sunday. Bring your sketch-books with you . . . . Remind Mr. Costello, when you see him, to get the order from Lady Mary Fox for her apartments at Windsor. You had better go down to Hampton Court and sketch Will Sommers, and some of the other figures in the old pictures of Henry the Eighth's time, carefully" (quoted in Ellis, pp. 57–58).

  • Wood-engravings for Windsor Castle: Plan Views
  • Illustrations for Windsor Castle dropped into the letter-press
  • 1. Saint George's Gateway and Round Tower
  • 2. Grand procession to Windsor Castle
  • 3. Old Beech Tree in the Home Park
  • 4. Herne's Oak
  • 5. Curfew Tower, from Thames Street
  • 6. Eastern View of the Curfew Tower
  • 7. Interior of the Curfew Tower
  • 8. Vault in the Curfew Tower
  • 9. Banquet in St. George's Hall
  • 10. Alms-Knights' Houses, and Lieutenant's Tower
  • 11. Norman Tower, from the Garden
  • 12. Garter Tower, from the Summit of the Curfew Tower
  • 13. Mark Fitton, the Butcher, Hanging from the Curfew Tower
  • 14. King Henry the Eighth attending Mass in St. George's Chapel
  • 15. Interior of St. George's Hall
  • 16. Haunted Beech-tree, near Norfolk Farm
  • 17. Dell on the Eastern Side of the Long Walk
  • 18. Beech-Grove, near the Equestrian Statue of George the Third
  • 19. Old Beech-tree, on the Road to Virginia Water
  • 20. The Wild Huntsmen
  • 21. Castle and Lodges, from the Long Walk
  • 22. Door Leading to the Hundred Steps
  • 23. Cardinal Wolsey's Tomb-House
  • 24. Cloisters near Saint George's Chapel
  • 25. Black Hole in Henry THE Eighth's Gate
  • 26. View of the Castle, from the Great Park
  • 27. Old Oak and Beech-Tree in Windsor Forest
  • 28. The Victoria Tower
  • 29. Gateway of the Norman Tower, from the Upper Ward
  • 30. Covered way from the Norman Tower to the Round Tower
  • 31. George the Fourth's Tower, from the Terrace
  • 32. Forest Glade looking upon Cook's Hill
  • 33. The Norman Tower, from the Middle Ward
  • 34. Part of the Round Tower, from the Moat
  • 35. The Castle, from the Western Side of Snow Hill
  • 36. View of the Castle, from the "Adelaide Peep"
  • 37. Guard-chamber in Henry the Eighth's Gate
  • 38. Part of the Horse-Shoe Cloisters
  • 39. Interior of the Garter Tower
  • 40. Garter Tower, from Thames Street
  • 41. Outer Door leading to the Hundred Steps
  • 42. Oaks, on the Road from Lachester Lodge to Hardiman's gate
  • 43. Colossal Equestrian Statue of George the Third
  • 44. Henry the Third's Tower
  • 45. South Side of the Alms-Knights' Houses, with Henry the Third's tower, and the Governor's Tower
  • 46. Lady Mary Fox's Drawing-room in the Norman Tower
  • 47. Moat of the Round Tower, with Henry the Third's Tower
  • 48. Round Tower, from the South-East, with Covered Way from Saint George's gate
  • 49. South side of Saint George's Chapel
  • 50. Interior of Saint George's Chapel, looking towards the Choir
  • 51. West End of Saint George's Chapel
  • 52. Virginia Water
  • 53. Slopes, from the North-east Angle of the Terrace
  • 54. Private Chapel in the Great Park
  • 55. George the Fourth's Gateway, and York and Lancaster Towers, with Victoria Tower on the right
  • 56. East and north Facades of the Castle
  • 57. The Castle, from Eton Play-fields
  • 58. The Upper Quadrangle
  • 59. Curfew Tower and other buildings, as proposed to be altered by Wyatville
  • 60. Crown and Portcullis
  • 61. Sunk Garden and Eastern Facade of the Castle
  • 62. Old Oak, near Blacknest
  • 63. Henry the Eighth's Gate, from the Lower Ward
  • 64. Henry the Seventh's Buildings
  • 65. Ancient Kitchen in the Castle
  • 66. Part of the South Side of the Upper Quadrangle
  • 67. Scathed Oak-tree in the Home Park
  • 68. Haunted Beech-tree, Looking towards the Hill
  • 69. Port-hole in the Curfew Tower
  • 70. Upper Chamber in the Curfew Tower
  • 71. Bastion, near the Hundred Steps
  • 72. Entrance to the New Commons
  • 73. House in the North Ambulatory of the Dean's Cloisters
  • 74. Moat of the Round Tower, with Edward the Third's Tower in the background
  • 75. Staircase to the Round Tower
  • 76. Landing of the Staircase in the Round Tower
  • 77. Tower and Buildings, from the Hundred Steps
  • 78. George the Fourth's Gateway, from the Entrance to the Great Park
  • 79. The Castle, from the Brocas
  • 80. The Town of Windsor, from the Curfew Tower
  • 8l. Entrance to the Dean's Cloisters
  • 82. Governor of the Alms-Knights' Tower
  • 83. Old Buildings, from the Hundred Steps
  • 84. Prison Chamber in Henry the Eighth's Gateway
  • 85. Bastion and Wall, from the Hundred Steps
  • 86. View in the Great Park, near Sand-spit Gate
  • 87. Flag-tower, with Standard Lowered
  • References

    "Ainsworth, William Harrison." http://biography.com [accessed 18​December 2017].

    Ainsworth, William Harrison. Windsor Castle. An Historical Romance. Illustrated by George Cruikshank and Tony Johannot. With designs on wood by W. Alfred Delamotte. London: Routledge, 1880. Based on the Henry Colburn edition of 1844.

    Ainsworth, William Harrison. Windsor Castle. An Historical Romance. Illustrated by George Cruikshank and Tony Johannot. With designs on wood by W. Alfred Delamotte. London: Methuen, 1903. Based on the Henry Colburn edition of 1844.

    Carver, Stephen. The Life and Works of the Lancashire Novelist William Harrison Ainsworth, 1805–1882. Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 2003.

    Delamotte, William Alfred, and Charles Ollier. Original views of Oxford, its colleges, chapels, and gardens.​London, T. Boys, 1843.

    Ellis, S. M. William Harrison Ainsworth and His Friends. Vol II. London: Garland Publishing, 1979.

    Patten, Robert L. Chapter 30, "The 'Hoc' Goes Down." George Cruikshank's Life, Times, and Art, vol. 2: 1835-1878. Rutgers, NJ: Rutgers U. P., 1991; London: The Lutterworth Press, 1996. Pp. 153-186.

    Vann, J. Don. "Windsor Castle in Ainsworth's Magazine, June 1842-June 1843." Victorian Novels in Serial. New York: MLA, 1985. P. 23.

    Last modified 18​December 2017