View of the Edge of the Desert at Cape Henry, Virginia
Pencil, ink, and watercolor on paper drawing of "View of the Edge of the Desert at Cape Henry, Virginia", July 24, 1798, from the Latrobe Sketchbooks, by Benjamin Henry Latrobe. The scene features the long sand approach to the Cape Henry Lighthouse, located on the Cape, which is a part of modern day Virginia Beach. The lighthouse was completed in October 1792. It was made of sandstone and abandoned following the completion of a second lighthouse in 1881. Both lighthouses still stand today. Latrobe described his sketch: "The redo part of the hill shows its form at the time the lighthouse was built / 1791 or 1792. The lighter color shows the accumulation of sand, and its encroachment upon the desert since that time. The sand has risen at the lighthouse about 20 feet. The eddy of wind occasioned by the buildings keeps clear a kind of ditch of 20 feet wide around them. The height of sand above the water in the desert cannot be less than 100 feet?"