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Peter Monamy, 1681–1749

The Opening of the First Eddystone Lighthouse in 1698

Former Title(s):

Winstanley's Lighthouse [2016, Spreading Canvas, exhibition catalogue]

ca. 1703
Materials & Techniques:
Oil on canvas
24 1/4 x 54 inches (61.6 x 137.2 cm)

Signed in white paint (on rock), lower center: "P. Monamy"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
boats | flags | full-rigged ships | lighthouse | longboats | marine art | opening (architectural element) | rocks (landforms) | sea | ships | shore (landform) | sloops (sailing vessels) | Union Jack | yachts
Associated Places:
Cornwall | Eddystone Lighthouse | England | Plymouth | United Kingdom | Winstanley's lighthouse
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

For centuries the Eddystone Rocks, off the coast of Cornwall, had caused the wreck of ships approaching Plymouth, and in 1692 the Admiralty issued a call for designs for a lighthouse to be built there. The artist, inventor, and engineer Henry Winstanley was awarded the project, and construction began in 1696. While on the reef on June 25, 1697, he was taken prisoner by a French privateer; only after Louis XIV ordered his release was construction completed, in November 1698. The lighthouse was successfully in use until 1703, when that year’s “Great Storm” destroyed it, perhaps fulfilling Winstanley’s desire to be inside his lighthouse during “the greatest storm that ever blew under the face of the heavens,” but killing him in the process. Peter Monamy's painting is a composite, culled from various printed materials available to the artist long after the original structure was destroyed. The absolute calm belies the history of and reasons for the lighthouse’s construction.

Spreading Canvas - Eighteenth - Century British Marine Painting (Yale Center for British Art, 2016-09-09 - 2016-12-04) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition] [Exhibition Description]

Malcolm Cormack, Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 160-161, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Charles Harrison-Wallace, Peter Monamy, 1682-1749, marine artist : Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, Pallant House Gallery, 1983, no. 8, fig. 4, NJ18 M756 H37 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Eleanor Hughes, Spreading Canvas : Eighteenth-Century British Marine Painting, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2016, p. 158, cat. 19, ND 1373.G74 S67 2016 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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