The National Lighthouse Museum new exhibit, “Lighthouses of Great Britain: A Rare Exhibit of Antique Prints,” curated by Danielle Mann and featuring a selection of antique prints of lighthouses from Great Britain, past and present, is on display through Sunday, March 13th.
“Lighthouses of Great Britain” is inspired by the visit of The Princess Royal who is the Honorary Chair of the National Lighthouse Museum’s Campaign For Illuminating Future Generations. The selected works of art are part of a collection of 300 pieces donated by Dr. Loren Graham and Dr. Patricia Albjerg Graham and features lighthouses with a unique history, significant engineering importance, and sentimental value to Her Royal Highness.
The prints, which date back to the 1800s, are original wood engravings, aquatint or lithograph prints, or news clippings from that time. Several prints also feature hand painted watercolor elements that make these pieces one of a kind. The works range from MAPS, engineering plans, and artistic renderings of lighthouses and their surrounding areas. Some of the lighthouses in the exhibit no longer exist or have since been altered from their original design.
Aquatint prints are made using a copper plate which is etched into using acid. The plate is covered in an acid-resistant resin in the desired areas to create shadow and tone. After heat is applied to seal the resin onto the plate, the plate is placed into a nitric acid bath for the desired amount of time. The plate is then inked and sent through a printing press onto moist paper creating several copies from one plate. Afterward, color is added using colored plates or, as in the case of some of the antique prints on display, are hand colored with watercolor paints.
Dr. Loren Graham is a professor emeritus of the history of science at MIT and Harvard University and is a prolific author. One of Dr. Graham’s books is on the history of the Grand Island North Light in Michigan which he purchased over fifty years ago when it was in ruins. The lighthouse has since been restored to a pristine state. During that process, he became interested in antique lighthouse prints and accumulated over 300 of them which he donated to the National Lighthouse Museum.
Dr. Patricia Albjerg Graham was the First Woman Dean at Harvard Graduate School of Education and is the Charles Warren Research Professor of the History of American Education, Emerita at Harvard.
The National Lighthouse Museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday, 11 am to 4 pm, and is located at 200 The Promenade at Lighthouse Point, Staten Island. For more information, email email@example.com, call (718) 390-0040, or visit the National Lighthouse Museum website.
Photo of Lighthouses of Great Britain: A Rare Exhibit of Antique Prints provided.