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Catalog entry

inv. 125
Gloucester from Steepbank
c.1855
Graphite on paper
10 1/4 x 16 in. (26 x 40.6 cm)
Inscribed lower center (in pencil): Gloucester from Steepbank / F.H. Lane del. / Remainder of sketch at other end of the sheet

Commentary

 This pencil drawing is the left half of a view of Gloucester Harbor from Western Avenue. Looking out over Fishermen's Field (now Stage Fort Park), Gloucester's downtown district and prominent buildings are seen in the distance. The drawing continues on another sheet—Across Gloucester Outer Harbor from Steepbank (inv. 234)—which shows the rocky southeast point of Fishermen's Field and Gloucester's Outer Harbor.

The drawing has long been undated, however a newspaper article from April 1854 (below) discusses the construction of the second steeple from the left, that of the Trinity Congregational Church. Therefore the drawing can confidently be dated to 1855 or later.

The land rising to the west of Fisherman's Field was then called Steepbank, on which a house by the same name was located. While there has speculation that Lane made this drawing from that house, its elevation was too high, as can be seen in a stereograph made from that building. The most likely viewpoint is Western Avenue, directly below the house, looking northeast, as shown on the viewpoint map.

When joined to its right half Across Gloucester Outer Harbor from Steepbank (inv. 234) the whole drawing measures 30 ¾” wide by 10 ¾” high, including mismatches of the adjoining edges due to subsequent trimming of top and bottom edges. No painting based on this drawing in its original state, or its separate halves, has so far been found.

This, the left half, has no verso image, but the right half was glued to a sheet of similar dimensions and is now the verso side of the drawing Gloucester Outer Harbor, from the Cut, 1850s (inv. 109).

At the time Lane made this drawing, Fishermen’s Field was owned by Benjamin Kent Hough, who also owned the Sargent House on Middle Street and the rope walk on the waterfront side of Canal Street (now Western Avenue) between the Cut and the Pavilion Hotel. The latter’s long buildings are easily visible in this drawing.

The rock formation called Stage Head (see viewpoint map) was fortified during four wars: the first, the American Revolution; the second, the War of 1812; the third, the Civil War; and the fourth, the Spanish-American War. After its acquisition by the City of Gloucester in 1897, Fishermen’s Field was opened to the public and re-named Stage Fort park. The beach at right, now known as Cressy’s Beach, was called Field Beach or Long Beach in Lane’s time.

—Erik Ronnberg

References:

1. Joseph E. Garland, “The Gloucester Guide” (Rockport, MA: Protean Press, 1990), pp. 1 – 3.

2. Mary Ray and Sarah Dunlap, “Gloucester, Massachusetts Historical Time Line, 1000-1999” (Gloucester, MA: The Pressroom, 2002), References to Fishermen’s Field, Stage Fort Park, Benjamin Kent Hough, Canal Street, and rope walks.

Key to identified buildings:

1. Residence of C.F. Hovey

2. Union School, later site of Collins School House

3. First Universalist Church

4. Congregational Church

5.Unitarian Church

6. Baptist Church

7. Methodist Church

8. Pavilion Hotel

9. Second Universalist Church

 

Viewpoint map showing Lane's assumed location when making this drawing

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Verso

Related Work in the Catalog

Supplementary Images

Image combining inv.125 with inv.234
 

Explore catalog entries by keywords view all keywords »

Subject Types:   Townscape »
Cape Ann Locales:   Pavilion Beach & Hotel »   //   Stage Fort / Rocks »
Building Types:   Commercial Building »   //   Hotel »

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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Although in his 1852 Gloucester Harbor, Lane painted the Second Baptist Church to look like Italian brick, this building was in fact clad in New England clapboard, of an unknown but perhaps reddish color. It was the second Baptist church built in Gloucester, the first being just up Pleasant Street and visible in the same painting as the white steeple to the left. The second Baptist Church was designed by Gridley J.F. Bryant of Boston (the same architect who twenty years later would design Gloucester's City Hall) and was dedicated the year before, in March 1851. The minister at the time of the 1852 painting was Miles Sanford. 

The church replaced a tavern on land directly across the street from Lane's childhood home. Lane never painted his old house, sold out of the family in 1839, but its location is often near the center of canvases of the harbor. In Gloucester Harbor, 1852 (inv. 38) painting at CAM, it was in the cluster of wooden houses partially covering the wall of the second Baptist church, to the right of the ship's mast. It was here that the young Nathaniel Rogers Lane played, ate the legendary and hypothetical "apple of Peru" to cause his lameness, learned the shoemaker's trade, and drew his early sketches of boats and sails. The site of the Lane house is now occupied by the old Gloucester Cooperative Bank building at 85 Middle Street. 

This Baptist Church burned in December 1869, and was replaced in 1871 by the third Baptist church to stand on Pleasant Street, which in turn was torn down in 1966 to create a parking lot. But the large granite block used as its front step now forms the bottom of the pathway from the parking lot on Rogers Street up to the stone Fitz Henry Lane house.

Current address: Parking lot on Pleasant Street between Middle and Warren Streets, opposite the Cape Ann Museum.

 – Sarah Dunlap  (August, 2013)

photo (historical)
Second Baptist Church
John Heywood
c.1865
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Taken from the Webster House Hotel upper floors. Cape Ann Scenery, 2nd series.

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photo (historical)
Slab of granite being moved
c.1870
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Granite block - door stone for new Baptist Church 1870. Col. Jonas French and oxen drivers on Washington Street, Annisquam.

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map
1851 Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport (detail of Harbor Parish)
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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This was Charles F. Hovey's new house when Lane painted Gloucester Harbor from Rocky Neck, 1844 (inv. 14), the hilltop house on the horizon at the far left of the canvas, above the Fort. It is identified as the C.F. Hovey house on the 1851 Walling map and stood high above the outer Harbor, overlooking Gloucester's waterfront. The house that Charles Hovey built has been greatly altered by several owners over the years, but still commands an impressive view of the surrounding sea and land. 

The brothers Charles Fox Hovey and George Otis Hovey, sons of Darius and Sarah, were born in Brookfield, Massachusetts. They first appeared in the Gloucester Assessor's Valuations in 1846, when Charles had a house, barn and land worth the substantial sum of $3,000, and George had land and an unfinished house worth $1,000, the beginnings of a vast estate on Dolliver’s Neck, Fresh Water Cove. The brothers enrolled in the Gloucester militia in 1847. 

By 1851, both Charles and George lived in Boston, although they continued to own and pay taxes on their Gloucester houses. Charles was an abolitionist of note and a supporter of the women's rights convention.  Charles F. Hovey died in Boston on April 28, 1859 of rheumatic gout. The posthumous $50,000 Hovey Fund was managed and allocated by the abolitionist and reformer, Wendell Phillips. George was a merchant and died in Gloucester on July 18, 1877.   

Current address: 6 Hovey Street.

 – Sarah Dunlap (January, 2014)

Related tables: Hovey, Charles »
map
Locator map showing C.F. Hovey house
H.F. Walling
1851
44 x 34 inches
John Hanson, Publisher
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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The Pavilion, built in 1849 for Sidney Mason, was Gloucester's first summer resort hotel. Mason was a patron of Lane, and he commissioned him to paint three views of scenes of his mercantile successes: New York Harbor, San Juan [Saint John] Harbor, and Gloucester Harbor, 1852 (inv. 38), in which the hotel, with all its porches, towers and tracery, is a prominent feature. Mason himself helped the architect S. Charles Bugbee design the building, that was then constructed by White and Winchester. A grist windmill, originally owned by Ignatius Webber and then by Sidney Mason's father, John Mason, had stood on the hill since 1814, but, in preparation for the Pavilion Hotel, was moved to the inner-harbor side of the old Fort and eventually burned in 1877. Both the windmill and the Fort can be seen in several Lane harbor paintings and drawings.

Sidney Mason lived in New York City at this time but was closely connected to his home town of Gloucester and owned another, traveler's hotel, the Gloucester House. But the Pavilion brought in an entirely new and different type of visitor to the fishing and trading town of Gloucester. The railroad from Boston had reached Salem in 1839 and Gloucester in November 1847. This not only led to Lane's return to Gloucester after his fifteen year residence in Boston,  it also facilitated an influx of summer people. Before this time, a combination of stagecoaches, ferries, steamers and trains was needed to make the trip. Now, the wealthy from New York and Philadelphia could travel easily to Gloucester, as well as to other North Shore communities.  

The hotel was not isolated from the business of the town. Next door to the west was one of the several long ropewalks in town. It was built by Ignatius Webber in 1803 and produced many of the miles of hemp rope and twine needed in the maritime trading and fishing trades. To the east, along the beach, were flake yards, where acres of split cod and other fish were laid out to dry in the sun. Lane did not include these in his painting. Nor is there any sign of tension between the tourist hotel and the local inhabitants and industries.

The Pavilion Hotel offered spectacular views and walks, both coastal and inland, and bathing was available all along the public beach that stretched to the Fort. The hotel itself was advertised as elegant, with luxurious sitting rooms, gas lighting and modern conveniences. Its first years were not entirely successful under the management of Dr. H.T. Haughey, once manager of Delaware's Brandywine Springs. But in 1852, Col. Abijah Peabody, manager of Mason's other hotel, the Gloucester House, took over the Pavilion and it flourished.

The Pavilion Hotel grounds were used during the Civil War as a recruiting office. It became the Surfside Hotel, and burned on Saturday, October 17, 1914. It was soon replaced by the Tavern, and that building still exists although no longer as a hotel and without the elegance and architectural flare of the original Pavilion.

Current address: 28–30 Western Avenue, The Tavern.

 – Sarah Dunlap (September, 2013)

Pavilion Hotel and Beach from the Fort
c.1870
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Pavilion Hotel and the beach looking west from the Fort, Beach Court and Western Avenue. 

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photo (historical)
Pavilion Hotel, view with guests on beach
Proctor Brothers
c.1870
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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photo (historical)
Stereo view from Western Avenue
Heywood
c.1864
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Pavilion Hotel from top of Western Avenue, small storefront on left has a sign saying "Beer." 

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illustration
Architectural plans for Pavilion Hotel, front elevation
1840s
Architectural drawing
Cape Ann Museum Library & Museum, Gloucester, Mass.

Architectural drawings of Pavilion for Sidney Mason.

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map
1834-35 Mason Map: Gloucester Harbor (detail 4)
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 1834–1835."

This section of the map shows the location of the Pavilion Hotel and ropewalk along the beach.

Also filed under: Maps »   //  Mason, John »   //  Pavilion (Publick) Beach »   //  Ropewalk »   //  Windmill »

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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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publication
1852 Gloucester Telegraph 6.16.1852
Gloucester Telegraph
6.26.1852
Newspaper
Gloucester Telegraph p. 2 col. 2
Boston Public Library
Accession # G587

"Charlotte Cushman leaves for Europe today in steamship Asia, from New York,– She takes with her two of Lane's finest marine paintings, which she purchased on Monday."

Image: Boston Public Library
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publication
1854 The Independent 9.7.1854
Clarence Cook
1854
Newspaper
"Letters on Art. - No. IV"

"In that space [four years] the town has grown greatly . . . a great ugly, yellow "Pavilion" suns itself on the rocks . . . I said there are only two stone buildings in this town of Gloucester: one is "the Bank," the other belongs to Mr. F. H. Lane, whose name ought to be known from Maine to Georgia as the best marine painter in the country.

If Mr. Lane is not as well known as he ought to be, he has at least no reason to complain of neglect or want of appreciation. He has been painting only fifteen years, and his pictures are in great demand; hitherto chiefly among sea-faring men, but now winning way in other circles. In former times I used to be often in Mr. Lane's painting-room, and it was with real pleasure that I found my way to his new house, built from his own design, of native granite, as I mentioned, handsome, peculiar, stable, and commanding a wide sweep of land and ocean from its ample windows. The house is the best that has been built in Gloucester for fifty years. . .

Mr. Lane has put few pictures in his studio at present; for he is very industrious, and sends his canvases off as fast as they are filled. If you were to meet him in the street, you would hardly take him for an artist. A man apparently of forty years, walking with difficulty, supported by crutches, hard-handed, browned by the sun and exposure, with a nose indicating less the artist sensibility than the artist resolution . . .

His early pictures had something in them too hard and practical to permit enthusiastic admiration; the water was salt, the ships sailed, the waves moved, but it was the sea before the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the deep.

His pictures early delighted sailors by their perfect truth. Lane knows the name and place of every rope on a vessel; he knows the construction, the anatomy, the expression – and to a seaman every thing that sails has expression and individuality . . . [Lane] has earned his money thus far mostly by painting "portraits" of vessels for sailors and ship-owners. It is owing to this necessity, perhaps, that he has fallen into the fault of too great literalness of treatment, which I have mentioned as characterizing some of his earlier works; but with the rapid advance he has made in the past four years, there is no longer any fear that he is incapable of treating a subject with genuine imagination . . .

He has indulged in no tricks and no vagaries; he has slighted nothing, despised nothing. If I appear to think less of his early pictures than they deserve, it is not because they are carefully even painfully studied, and because no detail has escaped his eye or brush; it is not that he has too much conscience; but simply because I missed in them the creative imagination of the artist. But it may well be a question whether at this day, when slight and untruthful work prevails, when artists will not paint with conscience, and the public does not strenuously demand it, conscience and love are not higher needs than imagination, and whether Mr. Lane's early pictures, the landmarks on his toilsome, earnest journey to his present place, have not a great value of their own. There is not one of them that I have seen, without some valuable passage, showing acute observation and careful, studious execution.

A sea-piece, "Off the coast of Maine, with Desert-Island in the distance," is the finest picture that Mr. Lane has yet painted. The time is sunset after a storm. The dun and purple clouds roll away to the south-west, the sun sinks in a glory of yellow light, flooding the sea with transparent splendor. Far away in the offing, hiding the sun, sails a brig fully rigged . . . I urged Mr. Lane to send this picture to New-York for exhibition . . ."

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publication
1863 Gloucester Telegraph 12.26.1863
12.26.1863
Newsprint
Gloucester Telegraph
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

At a Sanitary Fair held at the Pavilion "obtained through the favor and generosity of the owner, Mr. SIDNEY MASON, of New York, and to whom many thanks are due."  "... hangs a fine picture, the generous gift of our own Artist, Mr. Lane.  The Subject is "Coffin's Beach," as seen from the "Loaf."  This is the most costly article on sale in the rooms, and is valued at $100. It will be disposed of by tickets $1 each."

Two paintings by Lane, Little Good Harbor Beach and View from the Loaf were on sale at the Fair.

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illustration
Architectural plans for Pavilion Hotel, 1st and 2nd floor plans
1840s
Architectural drawing
Cape Ann Museum Library & Museum, Gloucester, Mass.
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photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 20 The Pavilion
John S. E. Rogers, Publisher
c.1870s
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Stereo view of the Pavilion from the southern or sea side.

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photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 52 Pavilion
Heywood
Stereograph card
Hervey Friend, Gloucester, Mass., Publisher
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Stereo view of the Pavilion Hotel from the street side.

Also filed under: Historic Photographs »

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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)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 940 Bird's Eye View of Gloucester from Bond's Hill, looking Eastward
John S.E. Rogers, Publisher
c.1880
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"Bond's Hill is a high eminence on the west side of Gloucester Harbor. The foreground is very rocky and shows a portion of the old road to West Gloucester and Essex, used before the road was built across the marsh, which is to be seen in the center of the picture. Beyond the marsh road is the canal with its dyke. Then the ground rises and dwelling houses appear, till Lookout Hill (or Mount Vernon Street.) can be seen on the left of the background. On the right of the picture is the 'Cut' road, the only carriage entrance into the main part of the town. Beyond it is to be seen 'Crescent Beach,' with the Pavilion and 'old Fort' and a portion of East Gloucester in the background. In the centre of the picture can be seen the unfinished tower of the Town House, and in the distance is the open sea, with Thatcher's Island and its lighthouses just discernible."

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photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: Unique Series No. 19 Pavilion and Beach, from Old Fort
Procter Brothers, Publisher
c.1870s
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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map
Locator map showing Pavilion Hotel
H.F. Walling
1851
44 x 34 inches
John Hanson, Publisher
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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photo (historical)
Pavilion Beach
James Cremer, Publisher
c.1870s
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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photo (historical)
Pavilion Beach and Hotel
c.1870
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Taken from Fort Point looking west. Ropewalk just to west of hotel.

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photo (historical)
Pavilion Beach and Hotel
From Gloucester Picturesque, published by Charles D. Brown
c.1900.
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Pavilion Hotel, woodcut, view from west
n.d.
Photograph of engraving (copy)
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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Surfside Hotel, formerly Pavilion
photographer unknown
August 1909
12 x 14 in.
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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Essay to come.

photo (historical)
Pavilion Beach and Hotel
c.1870
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Taken from Fort Point looking west. Ropewalk just to west of hotel.

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map
1834-35 Mason Map: Gloucester Harbor (detail 4)
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 1834–1835."

This section of the map shows the location of the Pavilion Hotel and ropewalk along the beach.

Also filed under: Maps »   //  Mason, John »   //  Pavilion (Publick) Beach »   //  Pavilion Hotel »   //  Windmill »

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publication
The Germ 2.1848
John Piper, ed.
1848
Newsprint
D14-7
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

A short article entitled "The Cut," and signed "Little Fellow" describes the southwestern part of Gloucester and the beach between the Canal and the Old Fort. 

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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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map
1830 Mason Map
John Mason
1830
Series Maps. v. 13: p. 17
SC1 / series 48X
Massachusetts Archives, Boston
Image: Courtesy of the Massachusetts Archives
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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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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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Steepbank (sometimes spelled "Steep Bank") was a house near Fresh Water Cove which, in Lane's time, served as a summer estate for brothers, Eben and Theron Dale. It had been built for “an artist” named “Mr. Eddy” in 1845, was next owned by a “Mr. Homer,” and then by a “Mr. C. B. Fessenden." Around 1858 it was purchased by Eben Dale.

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.

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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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publication
1858 Cape Ann Advertiser 1.2.1858
Procter Brothers
1858
Newsprint
From bound volume owned by publisher Francis Procter
Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck

"We visited the studio of Mr. Fitz H. Lane a few days since, and were much pleased in examining some fine paintings from the pencil of this talented artist. Among the collection was a view of Long Beach, in this town, with which we were particularly interested.

The scene is taken immediately after a storm. The waves with their snowy crests are rolling in upon the beach, breaking against the sides of a vessel which has been driven ashore. In the background is seen the residence of Mr. Fessenden, and the surrounding scenery; on the right are visible the high headlands near the residence of Mr. Geo. Hovey, while stretching far away in the distance may be seen Fresh Water Cove, Dolliver's Neck, and the Old Pine Tree, the whole forming a beautiful picture and true to Nature.

Several other paintings were in process of completion, one a beautiful sunset scene, which was really beautiful to gaze upon; also a view of a gale at sea, with a gallant ship plunging madly through the waves, forming a striking contrast to the mild placid scene of the picture at its side.

Mr. Lane's paintings are true to nature, and in viewing them one can but admire the skill and genius of this talented artist, We advise all lovers of the art, who wish to spend an hour pleasantly, to visit the studio of Mr. Lane on Locust St. We can assure them that they will come away highly gratified, and have an earnest desire to call again." (1)

(1) See p. 2, column 3, Courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society

Image: Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck
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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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photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 54 Dolliver's Neck
Published by John S. E. Rogers
c.1860
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Taken from Steepbank, on the western side of Gloucester Harbor, and showing a small boat at anchor in the cove, then the Neck, and the sea beyond.

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letter
F. H. Lane letter to Joseph L. Stevens, Jr.
Fitz Henry Lane
n.d.
Letter
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive, Gloucester, Mass.

". . . will fully appreciate all that I have done in my garden, in ornamenting it, with flowers and plants, Rustic Arbours and Statues, and I only wish that you could be here to witness and enjoy his [Dr. J. L. Stevens] expressions of delight and interest, when a new flower attracts his attention, or some beauty of arrangement meets his eye. Samuel [B. Stevens of Castine] he tells me came up with the expectation of going on a voyage to Australia, but when he arrived in Boston he found the vessel with her compliment of men, and it is very uncertain if he goes in her. Your Mother and all at home are well. I yesterday made a sketch of Stage Fort and the surrounding scenery, from the water. Piper has given me an order for a picture from this point of view, to be treated as a sunset. I shall try to make something out of it, but it will require some management, as there is no foreground but water and vessels. One o’clock, it is very hot, the glass indicates 84° in my room, with the windows all open and a light breeze from the east, this is the warmest day . . .

. . . than devoting it to you. Since writing you last I have painted but one picture worth talking about and that one I intend for you if you should be pleased with it. It is a View of the beach between Stage Fort and Steep bank including Hovey’s Hill and residence, Fresh water cove and the point of land with the lone pine tree. Fessenden’s house, likewise comes into the picture. The effect is a mid day light with a cloudy sky, a patch of sunlight is thrown across the beach and the breaking waves, an old vessel lies stranded on the beach with two or three figures, there are a few vessels in the distance and the Field rocks likewise show at the left of the picture. I think you will be pleased with this picture, for it is a very picturesque scene especially the beach, as there are many rocks which come in to destroy the monotony of a plain sand beach, and I have so arranged the light and shade that the effect I think is very good indeed, however you will be better able to judge of that when you see it, the size is 20 x 33. . ."

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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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The Trinity Congregational Church, visible in Lane paintings such as Gloucester Harbor, 1852 (inv. 38), was built in 1831, during the time of the reconstruction of downtown Gloucester after the devastating 1830 fire. But this church was not built to replace one lost in that conflagration. It was built to house a large faction of the original First Parish Church (the four -pointed square tower visible in several paintings, just to the east on Middle Street) that was dismayed by the Unitarian drift of the parish. The rise of Unitarianism, and the hiring of new ministers with that leaning, caused those who continued to embrace the older Puritan, Calvinist, Congregational beliefs to secede and form their own church.  It was a split between the more radical, newer element of the Unitarians and those who wished to maintain their older, Trinitarian roots.   

The minister of the Trinitarian church in 1852 was James Aiken, who did not stay in town long.  Nor did the building serve long as a church. In 1854, the building was sold, cut in half, and moved.  Both halves now stand on Mason Street, facing south, across School Street from the Central Fire Station.

A second Trinity Congregational Church, with a steeple higher than any other in town, was immediately erected on same site in 1854. This 153-foot, octagonal steeple, visible in Gloucester from Steepbank, c.1855 (inv. 125) was removed in 1865. The church building was totally destroyed by fire in July 1979. A third church stands on the site today.

Current address: 70 Middle Street at the corner of  School Street. However, the building that appears in pre-1854 Lane works was cut in half and moved to 2–8 Mason Street.

– Sarah Dunlap (August, 2013)

photo (historical)
Trinity Congregational Church at Middle Street
August 1875
Glass plate negative
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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publication
1854 Cape Ann Advertiser 4.?.1854

On Middle St., the building of the new Orthodox Church will soon be commenced.  …we understand that the church when completed, will be the finest in the country.  It is to be surmounted by a steeple higher than any other in town, and will be a prominent land mark.  The contractors, Messrs. Smith & Babson, are young and enterprising mechanics, and will spare no pains to render the completion of the edifice as perfect and handsome as can be accomplished.  The old church having been cut in two, and moved back on Mason Street, is being fitted up, and will be made into two large double dwelling houses.  Another building has also been moved into this street and is being fitted up for a dwelling house.

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The Union School was built in 1823, as one of Gloucester's public district schools in 1823. It was situated on land lying between High Street (now called Prospect) and Columbia Streets near what is now the site of McPherson Park. (In the Walling map below it is in the middle of the block bordered by Church, Columbia, High, and School Streets.)  While Lane went to school, the number of such district schools increased from eleven in 1804 to twenty-three by 1840. This Union School was one of them, and stood for the rest of Lane's life. The land, given by Mrs. Abigail Collins, was the southern portion of the present lot, being that portion closer to Columbia Street. In the 1860s, more land was purchased and in 1864 the Collins School was built closer to Prospect Street. The original Union School, by now called the "old Collins School House," was not torn down until after Lane’s death, when it was auctioned off and purchased by F.E. Riggs in November 1865, along with its blocking and lumber and the privy, for $1,152. John W. Lurvey, a carpenter who lived around the corner on Washington Street, was hired to prepare it for sale, and he received $16.50 for six days' work. The second Collins School, was demolished in 1947. McPherson Park, an elderly housing complex, opened in 1976 and still stands on this lot.

Address: 31 Prospect Street, known as High Street in Lane's time.

– Sarah Dunlap (May, 2014)

map
1851 Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport (detail of Harbor Village)
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."

Segment of Harbor Village portion of map showing Lane-Winter property on Duncan's Point.

Also filed under: Duncan's Point »   //  Maps »   //  Winter, Ignatius »

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The beach between Stage Rocks and Tablet Rocks, adjacent to Fisherman's Field, was known during Lane's time as either Field Beach or Long Beach. It was a bit more rocky than Half Moon Beach. After Lane's time it became known as Crescent (or Cressy's) Beach. Field Rocks are just off the shore of the beach.

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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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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letter
F. H. Lane letter to Joseph L. Stevens, Jr.
Fitz Henry Lane
n.d.
Letter
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive, Gloucester, Mass.

". . . will fully appreciate all that I have done in my garden, in ornamenting it, with flowers and plants, Rustic Arbours and Statues, and I only wish that you could be here to witness and enjoy his [Dr. J. L. Stevens] expressions of delight and interest, when a new flower attracts his attention, or some beauty of arrangement meets his eye. Samuel [B. Stevens of Castine] he tells me came up with the expectation of going on a voyage to Australia, but when he arrived in Boston he found the vessel with her compliment of men, and it is very uncertain if he goes in her. Your Mother and all at home are well. I yesterday made a sketch of Stage Fort and the surrounding scenery, from the water. Piper has given me an order for a picture from this point of view, to be treated as a sunset. I shall try to make something out of it, but it will require some management, as there is no foreground but water and vessels. One o’clock, it is very hot, the glass indicates 84° in my room, with the windows all open and a light breeze from the east, this is the warmest day . . .

. . . than devoting it to you. Since writing you last I have painted but one picture worth talking about and that one I intend for you if you should be pleased with it. It is a View of the beach between Stage Fort and Steep bank including Hovey’s Hill and residence, Fresh water cove and the point of land with the lone pine tree. Fessenden’s house, likewise comes into the picture. The effect is a mid day light with a cloudy sky, a patch of sunlight is thrown across the beach and the breaking waves, an old vessel lies stranded on the beach with two or three figures, there are a few vessels in the distance and the Field rocks likewise show at the left of the picture. I think you will be pleased with this picture, for it is a very picturesque scene especially the beach, as there are many rocks which come in to destroy the monotony of a plain sand beach, and I have so arranged the light and shade that the effect I think is very good indeed, however you will be better able to judge of that when you see it, the size is 20 x 33. . ."

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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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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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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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Pavilion Beach is an approximately 1/5 mile long sandy beach that runs along the south side of Commercial Street from Fort Square to the public landing at the easterly end of Western Avenue. The beach faces out over Gloucester Harbor.

Pavilion Beach has long played an important role in the history of Gloucester’s Harbor Village. During Colonial times, the sandy beach was recognized as a crucial barrier between the potentially turbulent waters of Gloucester’s Outer Harbor and the tranquility of Harbor Cove, an inlet which offered a safe area for the construction of wharves and the berthing of vessels. So important was the barrier that during the 1720s town officials awarded a handful of respected merchants a land grant encompassing 80 feet of uplands with the proviso that they promptly build a wharf and maintain it in order to prevent the sea from washing over. During the 1730s, as maritime based commerce slowly took hold around Gloucester Harbor, additional grants were made designed to increase investment in the land and encourage its responsible use. Historian John J. Babson noted  that at that same time (c.1730) a group of citizens was enlisted to form a committee… to repair the beach, that the sea might not break over it ‘& spoyl the harbour…” In 1742, funds were appropriated by the General Court of the Commonwealth for the construction of a fortification at the seaward end of Pavilion Beach.  The citizens of Gloucester had been asking for protection from possible attacks by sea since the early 1700s. Once commitments were made to the project, the preservation of Pavilion Beach became even more crucial. 

For many of Fitz Henry Lane’s generation, here on Cape Ann and afar, Pavilion Beach was synonymous with sightings of the famous Gloucester sea serpent. Reports of a serpent frolicking in Gloucester Harbor were first made in August 1817. So credible were the reports that testimony was formally gathered under oath by the New England Linnaean Society and published in a small tract. The serpent returned in subsequent years generating a flood of publicity which helped jump start Cape Ann’s early summer tourist business in the decades leading up to the Civil War.  

– Martha Oaks (April, 2015)

Related tables: Pavilion Hotel »
Pavilion Hotel and Beach from the Fort
c.1870
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Pavilion Hotel and the beach looking west from the Fort, Beach Court and Western Avenue. 

Also filed under: Pavilion Hotel »

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photo (historical)
Pavilion Beach
c.1900
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

From Gloucester Picturesque, published by Charles D. Brown.

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map
1834–35 Mason Map: Gloucester Harbor (detail 3)
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 useful in showing the Fort.

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photo (historical)
Pavilion Beach
James Cremer, Publisher
c.1870s
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Also filed under: Historic Photographs »   //  Pavilion Hotel »

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map
1830 Mason Map
John Mason
1830
Series Maps. v. 13: p. 17
SC1 / series 48X
Massachusetts Archives, Boston
Image: Courtesy of the Massachusetts Archives
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map
1834-35 Mason Map: Gloucester Harbor (detail 4)
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 1834–1835."

This section of the map shows the location of the Pavilion Hotel and ropewalk along the beach.

Also filed under: Maps »   //  Mason, John »   //  Pavilion Hotel »   //  Ropewalk »   //  Windmill »

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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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Billet head
Unknown
1855
Carved wood with paint and gilt
12 x 22 x 8 in.
Cape Ann Museum. Gift of George W. Woodbury, 1936 (747)

This sea serpent billet head came from the schooner "Diadem" which was built in Essex, Massachusetts, in 1855 and owned by D. Elwell Woodbury and John H. Welsh of Gloucester.

Sea serpents were reportedly sighted here on Cape Ann from colonial times through the mid-nineteenth century. In 1817, more than 50 people, many of them prominent members of the community, reported seeing a serpent in the waters of Gloucester Harbor just off Pavilion Beach. So credible were the reports that the Linnaean Society of New England collected depositions from witnesses and published their findings in a small pamphlet entitled Report of a Committee of the Linnaean Society of New England relative to a Large Marine Animal Supposed to be A Serpent, seen Near Cape Ann, Massachusetts, in August 1817.

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photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 20 The Pavilion
John S. E. Rogers, Publisher
c.1870s
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Stereo view of the Pavilion from the southern or sea side.

Also filed under: Historic Photographs »   //  Pavilion Hotel »

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photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: Unique Series No. 19 Pavilion and Beach, from Old Fort
Procter Brothers, Publisher
c.1870s
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Also filed under: Historic Photographs »   //  Pavilion Hotel »

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photo (historical)
Pavilion Beach and Hotel
c.1870
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Taken from Fort Point looking west. Ropewalk just to west of hotel.

Also filed under: Historic Photographs »   //  Pavilion Hotel »   //  Ropewalk »

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photo (historical)
Pavilion Beach and Hotel
From Gloucester Picturesque, published by Charles D. Brown
c.1900.

Also filed under: Pavilion Hotel »

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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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Provenance (Information known to date; research ongoing.)

Marks & Labels

Marks: Inscribed upper left (in red ink): 75 [numbering system used by curator A. M. Brooks upon Samuel H. Mansfield's donation of the drawings to the Cape Ann Museum]

Exhibition History

1993–94 Cape Ann Museum: Cape Ann Historical Association, Gloucester, Massachusetts, Training the Eye and Hand: Fitz Hugh Lane and Nineteenth Century American Drawing Books.

Published References

Cape Ann 1974: Paintings and Drawings by Fitz Hugh Lane, fig. 43.
Cape Ann 1993: Training the Eye and the Hand: Fitz Hugh Lane and 19th Century Drawing Books, p. 16, fig. 9, as Gloucester from Steepbank.
Citation: "Gloucester from Steepbank, c.1855 (inv. 125)." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum. http://fitzhenrylaneonline.org/catalog/entry.php?id=125 (accessed May 28, 2017).
Record last updated September 12, 2016. Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
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