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Bell Rock Lighthouse

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Bell Rock Lighthouse 1819

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
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.

Glossary Open


When an individual or organisation employs an artist to execute a particular project, the process and the resulting work are termed a ‘commission’.


The printmaking technique in which an image is inscribed on a copper plate with a tool that cuts a groove in the surface. This groove holds the ink that creates the print when it is applied to paper. Also refers to the method of making an incision on a material such as glass.


An illustration at the front of a book, usually opposite the title page.


A paint with colouring and binding agents diluted with water. It has a transparent quality and is usually applied to paper.

Commission, Engraving, Frontispiece, Watercolour


  • Acc. No. D 5181 A
  • Medium Watercolour and gouache with scratching out on paper
  • Size 30.60 x 45.50 cm (framed: 59.40 x 72.10 x 5.00 cm)
  • Credit Purchased by Private Treaty Sale 1989 with the aid of funds from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Pilgrim Trust