TYNEMOUTH LIGHTHOUSE AND PRIORY.

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Print Size – 9 x 12

Printed in 80 lb coated cover stock.

Colored Print

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Our present engraving is a view of Tynemouth Lighthouse and Priory, with the lifeboat in the act of saving the crew of a vessel, which has struck upon the rocks at the foot of the cliff on which the lighthouse is built. This incident, so effectively and appropriately introduced by the artist, Balmer, who has frequently witnessed the scene which he has depicted, is peculiarly characteristic of the neighborhood of Tynemouth ; for, in consequence of the danger of the entrance to Shields Harbour in stormy weather, with the wind from the eastward, more vessels are there lost than at the entrance of any other harbor in Great Britain; and in no part of the kingdom has the value of the life-boat been more frequently experienced.

The view is taken from the entrance to Shields Harbour, about half a mile to the southwest of the lighthouse, which is seen rising from behind the extremity of the cliff, which overlooks the entrance to Prior’s Haven. Towards the centre of the land view are the ruins of Tynemouth Priory; while farther to the left, in the same distance, is seen the castle, now modernized and occupied as a garrison. The foreground to the left is the bank which forms the southwestern boundary of Prior’s Haven; and the rocks, which are seen at its foot, are a portion of the formidable Black Middens, which lie on the north side of the entrance to the harbor.

The principal feature of the engraving under observation is the view of the lifeboat, which is introduced with a thorough knowledge of the subject, and with a feeling and a character of truth which mere imagination can never inspire. The downward plunge of a boat’s bows among broken water, while her stern is at the same time elevated by a slanting wave, was never more happily represented. A person who has been at sea, may almost fancy that he’ hears the resounding dash of the water against the curved bow, and the seething of the angry wave as it rises on each side. The idea of motion is admirably conveyed in the representation of the wave lashing over the floating mast, which is tossed about like a light spar by the violence of the sea; and the continued inward roll of the water, from the side and bow of the boat towards the shore, is no less naturally expressed.

Part of the life-boat’s crew, with most of the oars double-manned, are seen “giving way,” with strenuous efforts, through the breakers, while others are endeavoring to save the shipwrecked seamen; and one of the men at the steer-oar appears to be encouraging the sailor who clings to the floating mast. The position of the boat, with her stem towards the harbor, and the shipwrecked men seated towards her stem, indicate that she is returning from the vessel, the top of whose masts are seen, and that she is now endeavoring to save such men as were washed overboard when the vessel sunk. The flying of the spray declares the loudness of the wind; and though a cheering glimpse of sunshine appears to illumine the land, yet the dark cloud, which seems to rest upon the waters to the right, sufficiently informs us of the gloominess of the prospect when looking towards the sea.

In consequence of a bar of sand, which stretches across the mouth of the Tyne, where the outward current of the river at ebb tide is met by the inward roll of the sea; and from the Herd Sand on the south, and the Black Middens on the north, the entrance to Shields Harbour is attended with great danger when the wind is blowing hard from the eastward and a heavy sea running. In crossing the bar, at such a time, a loaded ship, with rather a heavy draught of water, will sometimes strike, and unship her rudder; and a light one, in consequence of being struck by a heavy sea will sometimes broach to. A vessel thus rendered unmanageable, is almost certain, with the wind from the north-east and a flood tide, to be driven on the Herd Sand; and, should the wind be blowing strong from the south-east, she is extremely liable to be thrown either on the Black Middens or on the rocks at the foot of Tynemouth Castle; more especially in attempting to gain the harbor after the tide has begun to ebb. In the latter case, when vessels have been too late to save tide and are land-locked, and when it may seem less hazardous to attempt to pas3 the bar than to bring up, with evening approaching, on a lee shore, the danger of being wrecked on the rocks to the northward is more especially imminent.

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