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Catalog entry

inv. 107
Western Shore of Gloucester Outer Harbor
1857
Graphite on paper folded sheet
9 x 28 in. (22.9 x 71.1 cm)
Inscribed lower center (in pencil): Western Shore of Gloucester Outer Harbor F.H. Lane del. Picture painted from this sketch for Mrs. William F. Davis. Perhaps from this sketch Lane made his painting to represent the "Landing at Cape Anne [sic]."
On view at the Cape Ann Museum

Commentary

This very detailed drawing is similar to the painting made after it, Stage Rocks and the Western Shore of Gloucester Outer Harbor, 1857 (inv. 8), without one of the lumber vessels in the foreground. In the drawing, Lane has only sketched in a hull with two masts. Interestingly, the flagpole that flew above Freshwater Cove, and which appears to have been a local landmark, is included in this drawing, but not in the final painting. 

Half Moon Beach, shown here adjacent to Fisherman's Field, was the site of the first settlement of Gloucester in 1623. According to the inscription on this drawing, there was a painting made after this to be a new frontispiece to a book called the Landing at Cape Ann. The painting has not been located, nor is there a version of this publication of this name that includes a frontispiece by Lane, so the project seems to have been aborted.

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Verso

Related Work in the Catalog

Supplementary Images

Infrared detail
Photo: Marcia Steele
© Cape Ann Museum
Photo: Boston Imaging Digital Solutions
© Cape Ann Museum
Proposed viewpoint of Lane when creating the drawing. Viewpoint plottings by Erik Ronnberg using U.S... [more]. Coast Survey sketch chart of Gloucester Harbor 1855.
 

Explore catalog entries by keywords view all keywords »

Subject Types:   Coastal Scene »
Landscape Types:   Rocky Shoreline »
Cape Ann Locales:   Half Moon Beach »   //   Stage Fort / Rocks »
Objects:   American Flag / Ensign »

Historical Materials
Below is historical information related to the Lane work above. To see complete information on a subject on the Historical Materials page, click on the subject name (in bold and underlined).

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publication
The Landing at Cape Anne, or the Charter of the First Permanent Colony . . .
J. Wingate Thornton
Facsimile copy of the Dorchester colony's original charter
Boston: Gould and Lincoln
1854
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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The owner of this flagpole has not been determined, but it is an interesting landmark in Lane's paintings. Often it appears in his drawings and not in his paintings, and Western Shore of Gloucester Outer Harbor, 1857 (inv. 107) contains the only image of a flag actually flying from the pole. 

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Half Moon Beach is a small crescent of sand, nestled into Stage Fort Park, between Stage Point (where the remains of a Revolutionary War earthworks fort still stands) and a large ledge outcropping that on the far side houses the tablet commemorating the original 1623 settlement of the area by the Dorchester Company. At the time Lane painted his views of the Harbor in which one can see this beach, the entire little peninsula, once known as Fisherman's Field, was probably owned by the B. K. Hough family. The area, including this beach, is now public. From the beach, one can see much of the Outer Harbor, Pavilion Beach, and Ten Pound Island.

 – Sarah Dunlap (June, 2015)

photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 6 Half Moon Beach
John S.E. Rogers and Procter Brothers, Publisher
c.1870
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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photo (historical)
Postcard of Half Moon Beach
unknown
c.1900
Colored lithograph
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 83 Half Moon Beach
Procter Brothers, Publisher
c.1870
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Also filed under: Historic Photographs »

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1849 Gloucester Telegraph 9.22.1849
9.22.1849 (date uncertain)
Newspaper

"Mr. Lane has just completed a third picture of the Western Shore of Gloucester Harbor, including the distance from 'Norman's Woe Rock' to 'Half Moon Beach.' It was painted for Mr. William E. Coffin of Boston, and will be on exhibition at the artist's rooms for only a few days; we advise all our readers who admire works of art, and would see one of the best pictures Mr. Lane has ever executed..."

 "...solitary pine, so many years a familiar object and landmark to the fisherman."

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photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 239 Gloucester from Steep Bank
Frank Rowell, Publisher
c.1870
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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map
Stage Rocks, Gloucester, Mass.
Ernest W. Bowditch
1885
29 x 25 in.
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive (#089)

Ernest Bowditch was a landscape gardener. This map shows some of the various names of landmarks around Stage Rocks.

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The Stage, as it was known in Lane’s time, now Stage Fort Park, rises from the western shore of the Outer Harbor, just south and west of the Cut and the Blynman Bridge as you leave Gloucester. This was the first settlement of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1623 where fourteen men of the Dorchester Company landed and tried in vain to settle and survive through a combination of fishing and farming. They were successful at neither, and in 1626 they moved on and founded Salem. 

During the Revolution the Gloucester patriots built a fort on the north side of Half Moon Beach to defend against British invaders which was never needed. The fort was restored for the War of 1812 and again for the Civil War, but again saw no action. 

During Lane’s lifetime this area was the Hough farm. Townspeople were generally given free run of the place for strolling and picnics overlooking the harbor. The enormous rounded boulders and ledge outcroppings rose dramatically from the fields above the harbor without the tree cover that partially obscures them today.

Lane did numerous paintings of this area, including many views looking westward from the vantage point onboard a boat in the harbor. In Stage Rocks and the Western Shore of Gloucester Outer Harbor, 1857 (inv. 8) the Stage Rocks frame the west side of Gloucester Harbor and provided a peaceful and bucolic counterpoint to the intense activity of the city waterfront only a mile away across the harbor. Lane also painted the Stage Rocks from the beach just to the north near the Cut and Field Beach, which is on the southern side of the Stage Rocks facing out the harbor entrance to the sea.

map
Plan of Stage Fort Park showing location of Steepbank
1898
Commonwealth of Massachusetts: Southern Essex District Registry of Deeds
1543 plan 0141_0002

The third of the three plans has the references on it. "Plan showing the taking of land, flats and beach for Stage Fort Park…1898..."

Includes a reference to the home of Mary Turnbull which is Steepbank.

Also filed under: Maps »   //  Steepbank »

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photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 239 Gloucester from Steep Bank
Frank Rowell, Publisher
c.1870
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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map
1851 Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport (Fresh Water Cove)
H. F. Walling
1851
44 x 34 in.
Henry Francis Walling, Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Essex Co. Massachusetts. Philadelphia, A. Kollner, 1851
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Massachusetts. H.F. Walling, Civil Engineer. John Hanson, Publisher. 1851. Population of Gloucester in 1850: 7,805. Population of Rockport in 1850: 3,213."

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map
Cape Ann Atlas
1899

page 13

From salemdeeds.com

Also filed under: Maps »

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photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 6 Half Moon Beach
John S.E. Rogers and Procter Brothers, Publisher
c.1870
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 71 Gloucester from Stage Fort
Procter Brothers, Publishers
c.1870
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 89 The Town from Stage Fort
John S.E. Rogers, Publisher
c.1890
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"In the foreground is a clear sheet of water which washes upon the beach beyond. The Pavilion is quite prominent, while upon the rising background can be seen the steeples of the several churchs, the tower of the first Town House, and the Collins School House."

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photo (historical)
Field Beach and Rocks
John Heywood
1869
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Stage Fort from Hough's Farm, showing a panorama of the harbor from Pavilion Beach to Fort Point and Rocky Neck.

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photo (historical)
Fort at Stage Fort Park
J. J. Haws
c.1870
Stereograph card
Procter Brothers, Publisher
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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map
Plan of Stage Fort Park showing location of Cressy and Bray property
1898
Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Southern Essex District Registry of Deeds. 1543 plan 0141_0003
salemdeeds.com

The third of the three plans has the references on it “Plan showing the taking of land, flats and beach for Stage Fort Park…1898…"

Includes a reference to the home of “Mary Turnbull” which is Steepbank.

Also filed under: Maps »

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map
Plan of Stage Fort Park showing Steepbank
1898
Commonwealth of Massachusetts: Southern Essex District Registry of Deeds
1543 plan 0141_0001

The third of the three plans has the references on it “Plan showing the taking of land, flats and beach for Stage Fort Park…1898…”

Includes a reference to the home of Mary Turnbull which is Steepbank.

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photo (historical)
Stage Fort from Shore
c.1900
Colored lithograph
Cape Ann Museum Library and Archive

Also filed under: Western Shore »

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map
Stage Rocks, Gloucester, Mass.
Ernest W. Bowditch
1885
29 x 25 in.
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive (#089)

Ernest Bowditch was a landscape gardener. This map shows some of the various names of landmarks around Stage Rocks.

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The Western Shore of Gloucester Harbor is characterized by the huge smooth glaciated boulders and granite outcroppings known as Stage Rocks, and the steep cliffs which separate Dolliver's Neck, Half Moon Beach, and Fresh Water Cove from the rolling fields beyond. The area was a quiet bucolic scene as portrayed by Lane in several paintings and drawings, in contrast to the bustling Inner Harbor. The shore is punctuated by the steep crags surrounding Rafe's Chasm and Norman's Woe at the southern end.

photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 6 Half Moon Beach
John S.E. Rogers and Procter Brothers, Publisher
c.1870
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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photo (historical)
Stage Fort from Shore
c.1900
Colored lithograph
Cape Ann Museum Library and Archive
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map
1851 Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport (Fresh Water Cove)
H. F. Walling
1851
44 x 34 in.
Henry Francis Walling, Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Essex Co. Massachusetts. Philadelphia, A. Kollner, 1851
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Massachusetts. H.F. Walling, Civil Engineer. John Hanson, Publisher. 1851. Population of Gloucester in 1850: 7,805. Population of Rockport in 1850: 3,213."

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map
1851 Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport (detail of Gloucester Harbor)
H. F. Walling
1851
44 x 34 in.
Henry Francis Walling, Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Essex Co. Massachusetts. Philadelphia, A. Kollner, 1851
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Massachusetts. H.F. Walling, Civil Engineer. John Hanson, Printer. 1851. Population of Gloucester in 1850 7,805. Population of Rockport in 1850 3,213."

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The ensign of the United States refers to the flag of the United States when used as a maritime flag to indentify nationality. As required on entering port, a vessel would fly her own ensign at the stern, but a conventional  token of respect to the host country would be to fly the flag of the host country (the United States in Boston Harbor, for example) at the foremast. See The "Britannia" Entering Boston Harbor, 1848 (inv. 49) for an example of a ship doing this. The American ensign often had the stars in the canton arranged in a circle with one large star in the center; an alternative on merchant ensigns was star-shaped constellation. In times of distress a ship would fly the ensign upside down, as can be seen in Wreck of the Roma, 1846 (inv. 250).

 The use of flags on vessels is different from the use of flags on land. The importance and history of the flagpole in Fresh Water Cove in Gloucester is still being studied.

The modern meaning of the flag was forged in December 1860, when Major Robert Anderson moved the U.S. garrison from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. Adam Goodheart argues this was the opening move of the American Civil War, and the flag was used throughout northern states to symbolize American nationalism and rejection of secessionism.

Before that day, the flag had served mostly as a military ensign or a convenient marking of American territory, flown from forts, embassies, and ships, and displayed on special occasions like American Independence day. But in the weeks after Major Anderson's surprising stand, it became something different. Suddenly the Stars and Stripes flew—as it does today, and especially as it did after the September 11 attacks in 2001—from houses, from storefronts, from churches; above the village greens and college quads. For the first time American flags were mass-produced rather than individually stitched and even so, manufacturers could not keep up with demand. As the long winter of 1861 turned into spring, that old flag meant something new. The abstraction of the Union cause was transfigured into a physical thing: strips of cloth that millions of people would fight for, and many thousands die for.

– Adam Goodheart, Prologue of 1861: The Civil War Awakening (2011).

 
photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 52 Fresh Water Cove
John S. E. Rogers, Publisher
1860s
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

A view of a Cove on the western side of Gloucester Harbor, with the landing at Brookbank. Houses are seen in the woods back. A boat with two men is in the foreground.

Also filed under: Brookbank »   //  Fresh Water Cove »   //  Historic Photographs »

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publication
Oak Hall Pictorial: This is Oak Hall, in North Street Boston
Friend to American Enterprise
Unpaginated booklet
Courtesy American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass. (CL.F9116.011.1854 CL.F9116.011.1854)

Also filed under: Oak Hall »

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artwork
Oak Hall Pictorial: This is the flag that waves on high
Friend to American Enterprise
Unpaginated booklet
Courtesy American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass. (CL.F9116.011.1854)

Also filed under: Oak Hall »

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Based on the will of Catalina Davis, Lane made a painting for Harriet Phena (Mason) Davis (1823–74). She was the third wife of William Fuller Davis (they were married in 1853) and the mother of Catalina Davis, and is said to have studied painting with Fitz Henry Lane. Her husband, William Fuller Davis (1809–84) earned his way in life as a sailmaker and later as a fish merchant, maintaining warehouses and wharves in Gloucester's Fort district.  The Davises moved into a large house a few blocks up from Gloucester Harbor. In addition to Stage Rocks and the Western Shore of Gloucester Outer Harbor, 1857 (inv. 8) which was given to the Cape Ann Museum by the Davises' youngest daughter, Catalina, the family also owned one of Lane's views of Owl's Head, Maine.

Marks & Labels

Marks: Inscribed upper left (in red ink): 85 [numbering system used by curator A. M. Brooks upon Samuel H. Mansfield's donation of the drawings to the Cape Ann Museum]

Exhibition History

1980 National Gallery of Art: National Gallery of Art, Washington, District of Columbia, American Light: The Luminist Movement, 1850–1875.

Published References

Cape Ann 1974: Paintings and Drawings by Fitz Hugh Lane, fig. 18.
Wilmerding 1980a: American Light: The Luminist Movement, 1850–1875, fig. 271, p. 240.
Newton and Steele 2009: "The Series Paintings of Fitz Henry Lane: From Field Sketch to Studio Painting," p. 209. ⇒ includes text
Newton 2010: "Fitz Henry Lane's Series Paintings of "Brace's Rock": Meaning and Technique," as Western Shore of Gloucester Outer Harbor. ⇒ includes text
Citation: "Western Shore of Gloucester Outer Harbor, 1857 (inv. 107)." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum. http://fitzhenrylaneonline.org/catalog/entry.php?id=107 (accessed March 28, 2017).
Record last updated July 14, 2016. Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
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