About this artwork

The Bell Rock Lighthouse, which is situated off the Angus coast south-west of Arbroath, is one of the greatest achievements of early nineteenth-century engineering. It was designed by Robert Stevenson and built between 1807 and 1811 on a partially submerged reef, using the latest and most revolutionary construction methods. In 1819, Stevenson commissioned Turner to design a frontispiece for his ‘Account of the Bell Rock Lighthouse’. This watercolour was the result. Turner never actually visited the lighthouse, and probably based his design on drawings. It was subsequently engraved for Stevenson’s account by John Horsburgh and published in 1824.

see media

Joseph Mallord William Turner

Joseph Mallord William Turner

Turner transformed the art of landscape painting in Britain. From detailed topographical studies to expansive, atmospheric vistas his works celebrate the diversity and emotive power of nature. He was born in Covent Garden, the son of a barber, and exhibited his earliest sketches in his father's shop before studying at the Royal Academy Schools. Turner became the youngest ever full member of the Royal Academy in 1802. His experimental use of watercolour and oils achieved stunning effects, attracting contemporary criticism and praise. Turner's admiration of past masters, above all Claude Lorraine, and the numerous sketches made on many tours in Britain and abroad, provided the basis for his 'sublime' land and seascapes.