Shoreham Lighthouse

There has been a harbour at the mouth of the Adur since Roman times. The safe entry to the current harbour is marked by the lighthouse, known as Kingston Buci or Shoreham lighthouse.

Shoreham Lighthouse
Shoreham Lighthouse

The building dates from 1842. It was lit initially by oil lamps, but in the 1880s the lighthouse was modernised and the quality and strength of the light improved using new dioptric glass gas lamps. Britain became famous for the manufacture of dioptric glass and exported it around the world during the next hundred years.

In the paintings collection of Brighton & Hove Museums there is a painting of the lighthouse by the artist Charles Gogin, who lived in Shoreham. His painting is dated 1888, so although the painting appears old to us now, he must have been painting the lighthouse as demonstrating the best of modern technology available at that time. The flecks of paint and impression of light in the painting suggest Gogin was painting in the new modern style of the period as well. He had travelled and studied in France, and must have been aware that the last Impressionist Exhibition had been held in Paris just two years previously in 1886.

Shoreham Lighthouse
Shoreham Lighthouse

By 2011 the varnish on the painting had become very brown and the freshness of the image lost. Removing the varnish has helped the painting to be seen more as it would have looked when new in the 1880s.

The painting was restored this year in order for it to be part of an exhibition currently on at Horsham Museum on paintings of the Sussex Coast.

Janet Brough, Paintings Conservator

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