Sunset Over St Marys Lighthouse

Sunset Over St Marys Lighthouse Whitley Bay - Illustration by Jonathan Chapman

Here’s a colourful sunset to take your mind off a grey afternoon. It was created as a commission for a 70th birthday present. Titled ‘Sunset Over St Marys Lighthouse, Whitley Bay‘, it was painted with acrylic and ink on paper, mounted within a thin black 60 x 50cm frame. I’ve painted this lighthouse once before, as part of a Newcastle and Northumbria series displayed at North Tyneside hospital. It was great to have the opportunity to take another crack at it with a bigger piece of paper and some finer materials!

Sunset Over St Marys Lighthouse Whitley Bay - Illustration by Jonathan Chapman

St Marys Lighthouse is on the tiny St Mary’s (or Bait) Island, just north of Whitley Bay on the coast of North East England. The small rocky tidal island is linked to the mainland by a short concrete causeway which is submerged at high tide.

The lighthouse and adjacent keepers’ cottages were built in 1898 by the John Miller company of Tynemouth, using 645 blocks of stone and 750,000 bricks. It was built on the site of an 11th-century monastic chapel, whose monks maintained a lantern on the tower to warn passing ships of the danger of the rocks. The lamp was powered by paraffin, and was not electrified until 1977.

The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1984 and since 2012 St Marys lighthouse has been grade II listed. While it no longer functions as a working lighthouse, it is easily accessible (when the tide is out) and regularly open to visitors. In addition to the lighthouse itself there is a small museum, a visitor’s centre, and a cafe.

Sunset Over St Marys Lighthouse Whitley Bay - Illustration by Jonathan Chapman

Interested in exploring a commission? here’s a few details to get you started.