image smeaton, j_narrative of edystone lighthouse_1791_pl8
Image number: RS.10379
Credit: © The Royal Society
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Smeaton’s Lighthouse on the Eddystone Rocks

Date

1763

Creator

Edward Rooker (1702-1774, British), Engraver
Samuel Wale (1721-1786, British), Painter

Object type

Library reference

R63812

Material

Technique

Dimensions

height (print): 490mm
width (print): 350mm

Subject

Content object

Description

Depiction of the south elevation of the third lighthouse built upon the Eddystone Rocks, near Plymouth.

The third lighthouse was built following the destruction of earlier versions designed by Henry Winstanley (1644-1703), and John Rudyard (or Rudyerd; 1650- ca.1718). The Royal Society recommended the civil engineer John Smeaton (1724-1792) for the job; his lighthouse was completed in 1759.

Plate 8 of A narrative of the building and a description of the construction of the Edystone lighthouse with stone, by John Smeaton (London, 1791). The Royal Society’s copy was donated by the author on 20 January 1791.

The plate is inscribed: ‘South ELEVATION of the STONE LIGHTHOUSE completed upon the EDYSTONE in 1759. Shewing the Prospect of the nearest Land, as it appears from the Rocks in a clear calm Day.’

Includes scale: 1 inch = 6 feet

Object history

Smeaton’s lighthouse was modelled on the shape of an oak tree, and employed several novel engineering techniques. It remained in use until 1877, and was then re-erected on Plymouth Hoe, where it still stands as a tourist attraction. It can be seen in the background in the Royal Society’s two portraits of John Smeaton.

Associated place

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