Canal Life
The artwork on narrowboats has come to be know as Castle and Roses. No one is quite sure where this style of folk art originated, but similar floral art was popular all over Europe during the time of the canal's heyday. It is thought that because the boatmen had to live on the boats, that they wanted them to look as bright and attractive as possible.
The main features of the artwork are roses and castles but other flowers, churches, cottages, lighthouses and even dogs and horses are sometimes seen. The pictures are not always accurate, the painters had to work fast, often the decoration spread all over the outside of the boat, entwined with lettering. The water can on the roof was also decorated, as was the wash basin, cabin stool, headlamp, bucket and horses' feed tin.
There are still Castle and Roses artists today,some of whom make their living by painting other people's boats and also decorating teapots etc, which are sold to tourists. Sometimes the styles are so distinctive that it is possible to distinguish which artist painted which boat. Along the canal there are often litter bins etc, decorated with the Castle and Roses design.