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Catalog entry

inv. 118
Westward View from near East End of Railroad Bridge
Mid 1850s
Graphite on paper
10 x 16 in. (25.4 x 40.6 cm)
Inscribed across bottom (in pencil): Westward View from near East End of Rail Road Bridge / F.H. Lane del. / Picture painted from this sketch owned by John H. Stacy – Also a small one by Eben Page. Also Somes.

Related Work in the Catalog

Supplementary Images

Map showing Lane's viewpoint
 

Explore catalog entries by keywords view all keywords »

Subject Types:   Landscape »
Landscape Types:   Field / Meadow »   //   River »
Vessel Types:   Gundalow (marsh hay) »   //   Sloop »   //   Yacht / Pleasure Craft »
Vessel Activites:   Beached »
Cape Ann Locales:   Done Fudging »
Objects:   Train »

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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photo (historical)
Annisquam River
E. G. Rollins
1870s
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

This view is taken from Bellevue Heights, Governor's Hill, and shows Poor Farm, City Home, Emerson Avenue, and the railroad bridge over the Annisquam River with the Little River in the center. 

Filed under: Annisquam River »

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photo (current)
Contemporary photograph of site corresponding to Lane's painting
Martha Oaks
June 16 2016
Digital photograph
Martha Oaks
Image: Martha Oakes
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The construction of the Gloucester branch of the Eastern Railroad from Salem in 1848 transformed Cape Ann from a sleepy rural area to a bustling metropolis, with summer visitors from Boston and New York arriving daily and tons of fish and other goods being shipped back and forth to and from points west. New England Inlet with Self-Portrait, 1848 (inv. 77) shows the train, but it is omitted in two sketches of the area. The 1834–35 Mason map notes that John Mason sold a large area of land to the railroad company in 1845.

Related tables: Tourist Industry »
photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 74 Eastern Railroad Depot
Procter Brothers, Publisher
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Stereograph card of Eastern Railroad Depot with 9:30 up train, August 11, 1874.

Also filed under: Historic Photographs »

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map
1834–35 Mason Map: Gloucester Harbor (detail 2)
John Mason
1834–35
24 x 38 in.
Gloucester City Archives

"Drawn on a scale of one hundred feet to an inch. By John Mason 1834–45 from Actual Survey showing every Lott and building then standing on them giving the actual size of the buildings and width of the streets from the Canal to the head of the Harbour & part of Eastern point as farr as Smith's Cove and the Shore of the same with all the wharfs then in use. Gloucester Harbor 1834–35."

This map is especially helpful in showing the wharves of the inner harbor at the foot of Washington Street. 

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map
1851 Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport (detail of Annisquam River)
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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Done Fudging (or "Done Fudgin'" or "Dunfudgin'") refers to an area along the Annisquam River, just west of the old Meetinghouse Green. It is now the heavily trafficked site of Grant’s Circle, the first rotary in Gloucester after crossing the Route 128 bridge. It was an area central to transportation in Lane’s time, as it is now. Washington Street came to it from the harbor, traversed the Green, and headed north to Riverdale and Annisquam. The train tracks from Boston crossed the Annisquam River at this point after running along the side of the river, initially on a trestle and later on an earth embankment still in use today. There was a town landing for boats that landed all manner of goods and people moving up and down from Annisquam and Ipswich Bay or crossing onto Cape Ann from West Gloucester.

The name refers to the poling of river craft often necessary in the narrow river because of unfavorable wind or tidal flow. It’s a muddy bottom all along the Annisquam River, and poling a boat was called "fudgin'." There is a strong tidal current coming from both directions, from the south and Gloucester Harbor through the Cut and down the river from Ipswich Bay to the north. The tidal flows meet at Done Fudging. If you were “fudgin'” south against the tide draining into Ipswich Bay, when you reached the area of Done Fudging, the draining tide would change direction and carry you effortlessly out to Gloucester Harbor. Or vice versa, either way when you reached that point you were “done fudgin'." The river also broadens out at this point so at a full tide with a decent wind, sails could be raised and the fudgin’ poles put away, at least for a while.

Lane drew and painted a number of pictures from this spot. It must have been relatively easy for him to get there by carriage from the harbor. One of his early residences, Whittemore House on Washington Street, was only a half mile or so away. In contrast to the constant bustle of the harbor, Done Fudging was a peaceful and verdant place. The small farms with their trees and meadows stretched along both sides of Washington Street, while the salt marsh running along the Annisquam River went from emerald green in summer to gold in fall and brown in winter.

Lane did several views looking west upriver from Done Fudging, such as Looking up Squam River from Done Fudging, 1850s (inv. 26). The two most intriguing are nearly identical and include apparent self portraits of the artist (one with crutches, one without) sitting on a rock and drawing the river scene in the company of several large cows (see New England Inlet with Self-Portrait, 1848 (inv. 77)).

Today, the public landing at Done Fudging is one of the City of Gloucester’s most popular and heavily used public landings. It is located adjacent to Gloucester High School and has a small boat launching ramp which is accessed by a paved road.

publication
1862 Cape Ann Advertiser 4.18.1862
Procter Brothers
4.18.1862
Newspaper clipping
Cape Ann Advertiser
Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck

"LANE'S PAINTINGS were distributed on Saturday last among the subscribers, as follows: Harbor Scene, – Thaddeus Friend. View of Bear Island, – George Marsh. Good Harbor Beach, – Mrs. J. H. Stacy. Fancy Sketch, – Capt. Charles Fitz. Scene at Town Parish, – J. H. Johnson, Salem. Beach Scene, – Pattillo & Center. View near Done Fudging, – Ripley Ropes, Salem."

Image: Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck
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photo (current)
Contemporary photograph of site corresponding to Lane's painting
Martha Oaks
June 16 2016
Digital photograph
Martha Oaks
Image: Martha Oakes
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Wolf Hill was notable as a granite quarry, however the quality of the stone was unreliable. After the first City Hall which was built from Wolf Hill stone in 1869, burned and crumbled, there were warnings not to use stone from that location to rebuild it.

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The rivers of northern New England gave rise to a type of freighting scow called a "gundalow," having square ends, a flat bottom, shallow draft, and sturdy construction going beyond the usual standards for this hull type. The term “gundalow”—variously spelled and pronounced—was first used in the late seventeenth century in New England, and was derived from the Old World term “gondola”—also a flat-bottom vessel, but more varied in hull form and uses. (1)

The rivers and estuaries of Essex County, Massachusetts were subject to tidal variations and their surrounding lowlands were salt marshes which yielded prodigious quantities of grass. The more succulent varieties, called “marsh hay” were valued fodder for livestock, while “thatch,” which grew along the tidal creeks, was used for roofing of buildings, bedding for livestock, and compost for gardens. Grasses on higher elevations could be carted away after cutting, but at lower elevations, it was the job of gundalows to bring it to a landing for  distribution. Gundalows for these tasks were relatively small, less than 40 feet in length, propelled by long oars called “sweeps,” and by poles. Occasionally a single square sail was set from a short mast if the landing was distant and downwind. (2)

Larger gundalows, of more elaborate construction, were to be found on the Merrimac and Piscataqua Rivers of Northern Massachusetts and the Maine–New Hampshire boundary, respectively. The Merrimac gundalows probably reached 45–50 feet in length, had long overhangs with a stem post, a skeg with rudder and tiller, heavy framing, and a mast stepped well forward from which a square sail could be set when going downwind. (3)

Not just confined to the Merrimac River, many of these vessels found their ways to the Ipswich marshes via a canal on the mainland side of Plum Island. Smaller and simpler versions of this type were built to work in the salt marshes of Essex and West Gloucester, dispensing with sails and propelled much of the time by poling through narrow tidal creeks. (4)

Lane took notice of a gundalow in his painting Babson and Ellery Houses, Gloucester, 1863 (inv. 10) and the remains of another in his Looking up Squam River from Done Fudging, 1850s (inv. 26). In both cases, the hulls are small and simple in detail, but the latter shows part of its heavy inboard construction. Gundalows of this variety survived in Cape Ann estuaries long enough to be photographed.

Piscataqua River gundalows were the largest and most highly developed of this vessel type, measuring 65 feet or more and rigged with a lateen sail set on a very short mast. When sailing under a bridge, the sail could be dipped without lowering and quickly reset once clear. The hull was modeled with a rounded bow and finely shaped stern; many were fitted with a leeboard so the vessel could sail upwind on the broader reaches of the Piscataqua. (5)

Lane’s depiction of a gundalow in Boston Harbor in the mid-1840s is of the type associated with the Piscataqua River, but having features of both earlier and later examples, together with a rig not known to be used on these craft. The “spoon bow” has generally been regarded as a post-1860 feature, yet Lane’s example has one. The stern has a finely modeled transom which is clearly seen in the underdrawing revealed by infrared scanning. Rudders were supposed to be fitted by the early 1800s, but Lane’s example is steered with an oar. The graceful sheer is another feature considered to post-date Lane’s painting. Finally, the rig consists of a gaff- headed sail set from a very short mast. Short fixed masts setting large lateen sails were common to late gundalows, but the gaff rig depicted is so small that its usefulness is limited if not questionable (6).

Close examination of the infrared scans of this image shows careful drafting of the hull and re-drawing of the crew, sweeps, and steering oar. The cargo of casks is also extensively redrawn to show correct stowage. Whether the changes were due to criticisms from others or the artist’s own evaluation is probably lost to history.

– Erik Ronnberg

References:

1. M.H. Parry et al., Aak to Zumbra: The World's Watercraft, (Newport News, VA: The Mariners' Museum, 2000), 264.

2. Ibid.; and Nancy V. Weare, Plum Island: The Way It Was, 2nd ed. (Newbury, MA: Newburyport Press, Inc., 1996), 43–48.

3. D. Foster Taylor, "The Piscataqua River Gundalow," The American Neptune II, no. 2 (April 1942): 127–39.

4. Weare, 43–48.

5. Taylor, 127–39.

6. Ibid.; and author's observations.

photo (historical)
Clammers in marsh behind Wingaersheek Beach
Martha Hale Harvey
1890s
4 x 5 in.
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
#10159

Rare view of a marsh gundalow, being used on the Annisquam River for harvesting salt marsh hay. 

Also filed under: Annisquam River »

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artwork
Babson and Ellery Houses, Gloucester
Fitz Henry Lane
1863
Oil on canvas
22 x 36 in.
Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Gift of Roger W. Babson, 1937 (779.02)

Detail showing a flat-bottomed gundalow loaded with marsh hay and being propelled by men with long sweeps.

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photo (historical)
Lanesville granite scow
c.1880
Stereograph
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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artwork
Harbor of Boston, with the City in the Distance
Fitz Henry Lane
c.1846–47
Oil on canvas
17 x 27 in.
The Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund and partial gift of Travers Newton, Joanna Newton Riccardi, and Georgia Newton Pulos (2004.35)

Detail of gundalow.

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photo (historical)
Granite scow
c.1900
Photograph
Private collection

Granite scow being unloaded at Knowlton's Point, Sandy Bay. Sandy Bay Ledge visible in right background, Dodge's Rock in left background.

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Sloops are one-masted sailing vessels which, in American examples, set fore-and-aft sails but usually no square sails. Thus, staysails, or jibs, are set from the fore stay(s) and a quadrilateral mainsail is set from the mast and spread by a gaff and a boom. The larger sloops would often set a triangular topsail over the main sail. (1)

The sloops depicted by Lane were used in various coastal trades, each with its own requirements, which dictated the sizes and details of their hulls and rigs. Most elegant were the packet sloops, which transported passengers, mail, and higher value goods between specific ports on regular schedules. They usually measured between sixty and seventy-five feet on deck, as dictated by anticipated shipping volume. Finely finished, they usually had stern galleries—a row of windows across the transom with ornamental moldings—and varied color schemes. Examples of packet sloops are in Gloucester Harbor from Rocky Neck, 1844 (inv. 14) (center, middle ground) and Study of Ships, 1851 (inv. 141) (foreground), both of which probably made trips between Gloucester and Boston, or Gloucester and Newburyport. (2)

Another specialized sloop of similar size was the stone sloop, used to ship granite blocks from stone-loading piers around Cape Ann to other ports. They were similar in rig to packet sloops, but of heavier construction with greater hold capacity and absence of decoration. Their stout appearance was augmented by simple color schemes, or even tarred topsides, reflecting the wear and strain imposed by their heavy cargos. Lane depicted these vessels in his painting of Fresh Water Cove from Dolliver's Neck, Gloucester, Early 1850s (inv. 45), with a sloop (at left) preparing to load at wharf-side, and another (at right) sailing out with a cargo. (3)

Sloops of the more work-a-day sort are the most commonly seen examples in Lane’s paintings, most of them appearing in his views of Boston Harbor. Usually deep-loaded and looking weather-worn, they contrast sharply with the packet- and clipper ships which dominate the scene. Sloops of this type are rarely seen in Lane’s paintings of Gloucester Harbor and the Maine coast, although they were certainly needed for short-distance transportation (see Bear Island, Northeast Harbor, 1855 (inv. 24), View of Camden Mountains from Penobscot Bay, c.1852 (inv. 207), Sunrise on the Maine Coast, Mount Desert Island, 1856 (not published)). For coastal Maine, lack of railroads for heavier freight and greater distances between ports made the use of schooners with larger carrying capacity a greater necessity. (4)

In Lane’s views of New York Harbor, a regional sloop variant, the Hudson River Sloop, appears in New York Harbor, c.1855 (inv. 46) (bow view, left) and A Calm Sea, c.1860 (inv. 6) (stern view, right). This type had become prominent in the Hudson River packet trade between New York City, Albany, and beyond to points north and west as far as the eastern terminus of the Erie Canal.  Large vessels for their rigs, they were well-finished and well-kept, reflecting pride of ownership and rivalry among their owners and crews. (5)

– Erik Ronnberg

References:

1. A Naval Encyclopaedia (Philadelphia: L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1884. Reprint: Detroit, MI: Gale Research Company, 1971), 59.  See first definition of "sloop" and definition of "sloop-rigged."

2. Robert Greenhalgh Albion, William A. Baker, and Benjamin Woods Labaree, New England and the Sea (Mystic, CT: Mystic Seaport Museum, 1972; reprinted in 1994), 127–28.

3. Howard I. Chapelle, The History of American Sailing Ships (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1935), 300–02.

4. Ibid., 300.

5. Ibid., 298–300.

illustration
Sloop
Engraving in R. H. Dana, The Seaman's Friend, 13th ed. (Thomas Groom & Co. Publisher, 1873)

A sloop has one mast, fore-and-aft rigged.

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publication
Bermudian sloop
1884
A Naval Encyclopaedia:
Dictionary of nautical words and phrases
Special Articles on Naval Art and Science
Philadelphia: L.R. Hamersly & Co.

'Mudian, "Mugian, or Bermudian. A boat special to the Bermuda islands, usually decked, with the exception of a hatch; from 2 to 20 tons burden; it is short, of good beam, and great draft of water abaft, the stem and keel forming a curved line. It carries an immense quantity of ballast. Besides a long main- and short jib-boom, it has a long, taperking, raking mast, stepped just over the forefoot, generally unsupported by shrouds or stays; on it a jib-headed mainsail is hoisted to a height of twice, and sometimes three times, the length of the keel. This sail is triangular, stretched at its foot by a long boom. The only other sail is a small foresail or jib. They claim to be the fastest craft in the world for working to windward in smooth water, it being recorded of one that she made five miles dead to windward in the hour during a race; and though they may be laid over until they fill with water, they will not capsize.

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artwork
Bermudian sloop in St. Georges Harbor, Bermuda
Edward James
c. 1864
St. George's Historical Society
Detail of painting of St. George's Harbour, Bermuda, during US Civil War, with a Confederate blockade runner anchored in the foreground.

Also filed under: Puerto Rico »

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object
Scale model of stone sloop "Albert Baldwin"
William Niemi
c.1940
Wood, metal, cordage, cloth, paint.
Scale: ¼ in. = 1ft. (1:48)
Cape Ann Museum. Gift of Roland and Martta Blanchet (1997.17.3)

Although built in 1890 and larger than the stone sloops of Lane’s time, the "Albert Baldwin’s" hull form, rig, and loading boom are very similar to those of the 1840s and 1850s.

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artwork
Silhouettes of vessel types
Charles G. Davis
Book illustrations from "Shipping and Craft in Silhouette" by Charles G. Davis, Salem, Mass. Marine Research Society, 1929. Selected images
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John Somes was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts in 1745 and served as a privateer during the Revolution. Following the War, Somes was appointed the first president of the Gloucester Bank (founded in 1786) and a state representative. He and Anna Dolliver were married in 1780. 

map
1834–35 Mason Map: Gloucester Harbor (detail 1)
John Mason
1834–35
Lithograph
24 x 38 in.
Gloucester City Archives

"Drawn on a scale of one hundred feet to an inch. By John Mason 1834–45 from Actual Survey showing every Lott and building then standing on them giving the actual size of the buildings and width of the streets from the Canal to the head of the Harbour & part of Eastern point as farr as Smith's Cove and the Shore of the same with all the wharfs then in use. Gloucester Harbor 1834–35." 

This map shows the location of F. E. Low's wharf and the ropewalk. Duncan's Point, the site where Lane would eventually build his studio, is also marked.

The later notes on the map are believed to be by Mason.

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artwork
Portrait of Captain John Somes
Benjamin Blyth
c.1780
Pastel and paper mounted on canvas
Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Gift of Josephine Dolliver, 1959 (1596)

Benjamin Blyth was born in Salem, Massachusetts in 1746, and was one of the best known and most successful portraitists on the North Shore during the late eighteenth century. In the years immediately before and after the American Revolution, Blyth found a ready clientele amongst wealthy ship owners and merchants and his depictions of Gloucester resident Captain John Somes is typical of his work.

Blyth’s rendering of Somes—shown in a dark jacket with large buttons and a lacy white shirt with a high collar—descended through the Dolliver family. Sometime during the first half of the nineteenth century, artist Fitz Henry Lane painted a copy of Blyth’s portrait of Captain Somes, the whereabouts of which is unknown.

Image: Cape Ann Museum
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Mr. and Mrs. John Hancock Stacy lived in the eastern half of the Capt. Joe Foster house on Middle Street, while J. L. Stevens, Jr. lived in the other half. Mrs. Stacy was listed as a subscriber who received "Good Harbor Beach" in April of 1862. (1)  Mr. and Mrs. Stacy sold paintings for Lane by lot. (2)

One of Lane's drawings was a source for a painting for Mr. Hancock; another reads "Sketch for Stacy." 

(1) Cape Ann Advertiser, April 18, 1862.

(2) Sarah Dunlap and Stephanie Buck, Fitz Henry Lane: Family and Friends (Gloucester, MAChurch & Mason Publishing; in association with the Cape Ann Historical Museum2007), 51 n.182, 60 n.211, 77.

publication
1862 Cape Ann Advertiser 4.18.1862
Procter Brothers
4.18.1862
Newspaper clipping
Cape Ann Advertiser
Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck

"LANE'S PAINTINGS were distributed on Saturday last among the subscribers, as follows: Harbor Scene, – Thaddeus Friend. View of Bear Island, – George Marsh. Good Harbor Beach, – Mrs. J. H. Stacy. Fancy Sketch, – Capt. Charles Fitz. Scene at Town Parish, – J. H. Johnson, Salem. Beach Scene, – Pattillo & Center. View near Done Fudging, – Ripley Ropes, Salem."

Image: Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck
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PDF
view ]
Gloucester Lyceum Record Book
1849
Handwritten ledger
Sawyer Free Library
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PDF
view ]
letter
Joseph L. Stevens, Jr. to Samuel Mansfield, 10.17.1903
Joseph L. Stevens, Jr.
1903
Four-page letter
Collection of the Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive, Gloucester, Mass.

"[The painting] is offered you for $150 on as long time and in as many notes at 3% interest as you choose. . . I believe this to be the only important painting of Gloucester Harbor that Lane never duplicated. . . .Returning from a Gloucester visit while I was still under the roof there, father brought a print of Lane's first Gloucester view, bought of the artist at his Tremont Temple studio in Boston. An extra dollar had been paid for coloring it. For a few years it was a home delight.. . .I had been a few years in Gloucester when Lane began to come, for part of the time a while, if I remember rightly. He painted in his brother's house, "up in town" it then was. I recall visits there to see his pictures. But it was long after, that I could claim more than a simple speaking acquaintance. The Stacys were very kind, aiding him as time went on in selling paintings by lot. I invested in a view of Gloucester from Rocky Neck, thus put on sale at the old reading room, irreverently called "Wisdom Hall." And they bought direct of him to some extent, before other residents. Lane was much my senior and yet we gradually drifted together. Our earliest approach to friendship was after his abode began in Elm Street as an occupant of the old Prentiss [sic-corrected Stacy] house, moved there from Pleasant. I was a frequenter of this studio to a considerable extent, yet little compared with my intimacy at the next and last in the new stone house on the hill. Lane's art books and magazines were always at my service and a great inspiration and delight—notably the London Art Journal to which he long subscribed. I have here a little story to tell you. A Castine man came to Gloucester on business that brought the passing of $60 through my hands at 2 1/2 % commission. I bought with the $1.50 thus earned Ruskin's Modern Painters, my first purchase of an artbook. I dare say no other copy was then owned in town. . . .Lane was frequently in Boston, his sales agent being Balch who was at the head of his guild in those days. So in my Boston visits – I was led to Balch's fairly often – the resort of many artists and the depot of their works. Thus through, Lane in various ways I was long in touch with the art world, not only of New England but of New York and Philadelphia. I knew of most picture exhibits and saw many. The coming of the Dusseldorf Gallery to Boston was an event to fix itself in one's memory for all time. What talks of all these things Lane and I had in his studio and by my fireside!

For a long series of years I knew nearly every painting he made. I was with him on several trips to the Maine coast where he did much sketching, and sometimes was was [sic] his chooser of spots and bearer of materials when he sketched in the home neighborhood. Thus there are many paintings whose growth I saw both from brush and pencil. For his physical infirmity prevented his becoming an out-door colorist."

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Marks & Labels

Marks: Inscribed upper left (in red ink): 61 [numbering system used by curator A. M. Brooks upon Samuel H. Mansfield's donation of the drawings to the Cape Ann Museum]

Exhibition History

No known exhibitions.

Published References

Cape Ann 1974: Paintings and Drawings by Fitz Hugh Lane, fig. 34.
Wilmerding 2005: Fitz Henry Lane, ill. 51.
Citation: "Westward View from near East End of Railroad Bridge, Mid 1850s (inv. 118)." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum. http://fitzhenrylaneonline.org/catalog/entry.php?id=118 (accessed January 30, 2023).
Record last updated March 8, 2017. Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
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