The prints below, and right, do not correspond with Monamy's two paintings. They show Winstanley's second and final structure, built one year after the first, completed in 1699.
The right-hand print, from 1761, is reproduced in The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea, ed Peter Kemp, OUP 1979. The reproduction detail below appears to be of an earlier print, .
The title text from the print on the right reads: South ELEVATION of WINSTANLEY'S LIGHTHOUSE, upon the EDYSTONE ROCK, As it was finished in the Year 1699. Drawn Orthographically from a Perspective Print thereof, Published by himself. Engraved by Hen. Roberts 1761. This text indicates the existence of a print by Winstanley of the second structure; perhaps that from which the detail at left is taken.
self-portrait when young
Since Monamy's paintings of Winstanley's lighthouse were obviously executed several years after the destruction of the second, strengthened tower, it is of interest to speculate why he chose, or was commissioned, to commemorate the first building rather than the second. No painting of the second lighthouse attributable to Monamy has yet been discovered.
In the collection of the City of Plymouth Museums and Art Gallery, however, are what appear to be two splendid survivals, on wood panelling, of the art of the C18th sign-painter, both of which do depict the second structure. These will both presumably have been based on a contemporary print, or prints. One of these is shown left.
Alison Barnes has pointed out that the first lighthouse, in spite of, or perhaps because of, its even greater apparent impracticality and fantasy-filled conception, is the more pleasing and picturesque. All three of Monamy's paintings show a compulsion to elongate and emphasize the delicacy of the structures.
Monamy's decision, or that of his patron, to record the first building may also have been as a salute to Winstanley's pioneering courage. C'est le premier pas qui coute, remarked Emma Marshall in 1894.
John M.Sale: Perilous Rock, 1948
Later illustrations of Winstanley's last lighthouse, from novels by Murrell and Wood.
I.Hofbauer: The House in the Sea, 1952
An image from a magazine or book, date unknown: perhaps based on Roberts' 1761 engraving.
The background, however, draws on other prints.
lighthouse paintings composition
monamy website index
© Charles Harrison-Wallace 2004
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