image smeaton, j_narrative of edystone lighthouse_1791_pl14
Image number: RS.10382
Credit: © The Royal Society
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Smeaton’s Lighthouse under construction on the Eddystone Rocks




James Record (active 1768-1790s, British), Engraver

Object type

Library reference





height (print): 500mm
width (print): 325mm


Content object


Depiction 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 14 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: ‘A View of the ROCK on the EAST SIDE, and of the WORK advanced to course XV, being the first of the ENTRY COURSES, Shewing the manner of LANDING and HOISTING the STONES etc in every stage of the BUILDING.’

Includes scale: 1 inch = 6 feet

Object history

The lighthouse 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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