Vilhelm Melbye is the brother of Anton Melbye and Fritz Melbye. He worked a good period of his life in England and several of his works can be found in British collections. He preferred a realistic style, often also with romantic or dramatic scenes and Southern European Coastal or Harbor Views. He was influenced by the D?sseldorf School (especially by Andreas Achenbach) and changed his name in England from Vilhelm to Wilhelm. Therefore we find different signatures by him including: "Vilhelm Melbye" or "Wilhelm Melbye" or signatures with his initials "V.M." or "W.M.". He exhibited from 1847 on at the Charlottenborg in Copenhagen and at other places, for instance 1878 in Paris. He was appointed Professor at the academy in Kopenhagen in 1880.
The Eddystone Lighthouse is situated on the treacherous Eddystone Rocks, some 9 statute miles (14 kilometres) south west of Rame Head. Whilst Rame Head is in Cornwall, the rocks are within the city limits of Plymouth in the county of Devon.
The current structure is the fourth lighthouse to be built on the site. The first and second lighthouses were both destroyed in accidents. The third lighthouse, also known as Smeaton''s Tower, is perhaps the best known of the four, and is the one depicted in this painting. It is the most well known because of its influence on modern lighthouse design and its importance in the development of concrete as a building material. Its upper portions have been re-erected in the nearby city of Plymouth as a monument.
The Smeaton''s lighthouse was perhaps the most notable as it marked a major step forward in the design of such structures. Recommended to the task by the Royal Society, civil engineer John Smeaton modelled the shape of the lighthouse on that of an oak tree, albeit an oak tree built of substantial granite blocks. He pioneered the use of ''hydraulic lime'' (a form of concrete that will set under water) and developed a technique of securing the granite blocks together using dovetail joints and marble dowels. Construction started in 1756 and the light was first lit in 1759.
While in use, Smeaton''s lighthouse was 59 feet (18 metres) in height, and had a diameter at the base of 26 feet (8 metres) and at the top of 17 feet (5 metres). It remained in use until 1877 when it was discovered that the rocks upon which it stood were becoming eroded?each time a large wave hit the lighthouse it would shake from side to side. Smeaton''s lighthouse was largely dismantled and rebuilt on Plymouth Hoe, in the city of Plymouth, as a memorial. The foundations and stub of the old tower remain on the Eddystone Rocks, situated close to the new (and more solid) foundations of the current lighthouse - the foundations proved too strong to be dismantled so the Victorians left them where they stood (the irony of this lighthouse is that although the previous two were destroyed, this one proved to be stronger than the rock upon which it was built and could not even be intentionally taken apart).
- Oil on Canvas
- Width (cm):
- 71.12 x 111.76 cm (28 x 44 ins)