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Catalog entry

inv. 127
Town Parish
1863
Graphite on paper
10 1/2 x 16 in. (26.7 x 40.6 cm)
Inscribed across bottom (in pencil): Town Parish F.H.Lane del. Painting made from this sketch for the Misses Babson

Commentary

Family history and the inscriptions on Lane's drawings View in Town Parish, 1863 (inv. 126) and View Across the Marsh and Mill Pond in Town Parish, 1863 (inv. 119) indicate that he was asked to make three paintings for the Misses Babson before their departure for California. Two paintings, Babson and Ellery Houses, Gloucester, 1863 (inv. 10) and The Babson Meadows at Riverdale, 1863 (inv. 11), exist; the third was destroyed. This is believed to be the drawing for the third—another view of Riverdale, the Town Parish, and the Babson House. 

The composition shows an inlet, the houses on the hill above the inlet, hay sheaves, and the remains of a gundalow. The Babson and Ellery houses are to the right, next to the Town Parish meeting house, which was destroyed in 1840. In the distance is the Riverdale Methodist Church, which was built in 1828. The drawing is assumed to have been made in the early 1860s in preparation for the paintings. However, based on the timeline of these buildings, and the fact that the trees are not grown up around the houses, it appears that the drawing shows the area as it would have appeared between 1828 and 1840. This is consistent with a newspaper article from the Cape Ann Advertiser that describes a painting of the area showing "a scene at Town Parish, showing the old meeting house on the Green, with its tall spire, as it appeared in days agone."

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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:   Farm / Buildingscape »   //   Salt Marsh »
Vessel Types:   Gundalow (marsh hay) »
Cape Ann Locales:   Riverdale Marshes & Meadows »   //   Town Parish »
Activities of People:   Marsh Haying »

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
1861 Cape Ann Advertiser 2.8.1861
2.8.1861
Newsprint
From bound volume owned by publisher Francis Procter
Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck

"We visited the studio of Mr. F.H. Lane a few days since, and spent an hour very pleasantly in viewing the paintings of this talented artist. There are quite a number of beautiful pictures now on exhibition among which is a spirited picture of an 'Outward Bound Ship'; there is an air of life about this painting which characterizes the works of this artist, and in gazing upon it the ship seems imbued with motion and with a slight stretch of the imagination we can fancy that we hear the rippling of the water under her bow, so natural is the scene. It is a master piece.

There is also a view of the 'Outer Harbor' taken from the Point, which is a gem. It should be seen to be appreciated as no description of ours will do it justice.

A scene at Town Parish, showing the old meeting house on the Green, with its tall spire, as it appeared in days agone. The old Ellery house, and Babson House are prominent features, which with the surrounding scenery form a picture which will prove of interest to the visitor. It is faithful to nature and well executed.

Mr. Lane has just commenced a large painting of 'Boston Harbor' which bids fair to prove one of his best efforts, if we can judge from the picture in its present state. Numerous other pictures adorn the walls, and those of our citizens who have a taste for the fine arts should not neglect to visit the studio. Mr. Lane ranks among the Marine Artists of the country, and his paintings meet with a ready sale."

Image: Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck
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Traditionally known as the Babson-Alling House, this two-and-a-half-story gambrel-roofed structure was constructed in 1740 for Joseph Allen, Jr., a successful merchant and land owner, and his family. It is located at what was once Gloucester’s Town Green, the center of civic and religious life during the Colonial era. The gable end of the house sits parallel to Washington Street and the front façade faces south.  By Lane’s time, the house was occupied by the Babson family; the fields surrounding it were given over to haying, gardens, and grazing of cows. Shortly before Nathaniel Babson's death in 1863, ownership of the Babson House was taken over by Maria and Emma's uncle, Gustavus Babson (1820–97). The house remains privately owned.

– Martha Oaks (May, 2015)

photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 612. Homestead of Gustavus Babson, Riverdale
Procter Brothers, Publisher
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Stereo view of the house owned by Nathaniel Babson (Emma and Maria). The house was sold to Gustavus shortly before Nathaniel's death.

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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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map
1851 Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport (detail of Old First 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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publication
1861 Cape Ann Advertiser 2.8.1861
2.8.1861
Newsprint
From bound volume owned by publisher Francis Procter
Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck

"We visited the studio of Mr. F.H. Lane a few days since, and spent an hour very pleasantly in viewing the paintings of this talented artist. There are quite a number of beautiful pictures now on exhibition among which is a spirited picture of an 'Outward Bound Ship'; there is an air of life about this painting which characterizes the works of this artist, and in gazing upon it the ship seems imbued with motion and with a slight stretch of the imagination we can fancy that we hear the rippling of the water under her bow, so natural is the scene. It is a master piece.

There is also a view of the 'Outer Harbor' taken from the Point, which is a gem. It should be seen to be appreciated as no description of ours will do it justice.

A scene at Town Parish, showing the old meeting house on the Green, with its tall spire, as it appeared in days agone. The old Ellery house, and Babson House are prominent features, which with the surrounding scenery form a picture which will prove of interest to the visitor. It is faithful to nature and well executed.

Mr. Lane has just commenced a large painting of 'Boston Harbor' which bids fair to prove one of his best efforts, if we can judge from the picture in its present state. Numerous other pictures adorn the walls, and those of our citizens who have a taste for the fine arts should not neglect to visit the studio. Mr. Lane ranks among the Marine Artists of the country, and his paintings meet with a ready sale."

Image: Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck
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map
1823 Saville highway map
William Saville
1823
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
Grayscale version of color original

Map of Riverdale from the Mills to the Whittemore House at Middle and Washington Streeets ordered by a committee of selectmen, William Pearce, Samuel Stevens, Daniel H. Rogers with John Mason and Anthony Presson.  Map drawn by surveyor William Saville and present to the committee in June, 1823. It contains a enlarged view of The Green, including the Ellery and Babson houses painted by Lane. 

Image: Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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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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photo (historical)
Riverdale
E. G. Rollins
c.1869
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

View of the Babson Farm taken from Pole's Hill, showing the old Murray Meeting House (rear section of barn), fields and Mill River. In the background is the skyline of the major buildings at Harbor Village, including the first version of City Hall destroyed by fire in 1869.

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The David Low house appears in Lane's Babson and Ellery Houses, Gloucester, 1863 (inv. 10); it was located near the current corner of Washington Street and Cunningham Road. The roof and chimney peek up over the hill and field at the far left of canvas, above the man in the gundalow. It no longer exists, but it stood where Cunningham Road now leaves Washington Street, between Grant Circle and Addison Gilbert Hospital. 

David Low, the son of John Low Jr. and Sarah "Gee," was born in 1759.  He married Elizabeth Rogers in 1786 and they had fourteen children. By 1863, both David Low and Elizabeth were dead, but three of their daughters inhabited the house. It was these three sisters, Mary, Lucy and Sally/Sarah Low, about whom Lane's posthumous promoter, Alfred Mansfield Brooks, wrote, referring to them as the sisters of Captain Gorham Low:

"The Low house was a three-story Federal in which each sister occupied a floor wholly her own except for the parlor, which was reserved for callers, tea parties and funerals. A fine Copley portrait hung in this parlor, and Grandmother remembered how it was always rubbed over with a rind of fresh pork to make it shine when company was expected. I was taken in and shown as 'Abby's boy,' which I hated, and then expected to sit silent during each of the three visits, which I hated even more. Precisely the same length of time to the minute was exacted by the old ladies, else, as Great-Aunt Sarah said, they would never overlook the slight." 

In the early twentieth century, after the deaths of the sisters, the house left the Low family and was owned by Edith and then Florence Cunningham, but was eventually torn down to allow for the creation and development of Cunningham Road in the 1950s.

– Sarah Dunlap (September, 2013)

Related tables: Low, Colonel David »
Low House and family
c.1890
Sepia photograph
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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map
1823 Saville highway map
William Saville
1823
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
Grayscale version of color original

Map of Riverdale from the Mills to the Whittemore House at Middle and Washington Streeets ordered by a committee of selectmen, William Pearce, Samuel Stevens, Daniel H. Rogers with John Mason and Anthony Presson.  Map drawn by surveyor William Saville and present to the committee in June, 1823. It contains a enlarged view of The Green, including the Ellery and Babson houses painted by Lane. 

Image: Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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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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This church building at the Green was originally the First Parish Church but became the 4th parish (Town Parish) meeting house in 1752 (after the First Parish designation was taken by the 1738 church on Middle St.).  The last service held in the church at the Green was on June 14, 1840, when it was feared the balconies would collapse.  It was sold for demolition in Dec.1840, and torn down by William Ferson within 20 days of that.  [Article in the GDT, Feb. 17, 1916, by Miss Babson for the weekly column from the Cape Ann Scientific and Literary Society.]

–Sarah Dunlap

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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The Riverdale Methodist Church building was the second Methodist church built in Gloucester, and is currently the site of the Gloucester United Methodist Church at 436 Washington Street. The Harbor Methodist had been built in 1828. Ten years later, in 1838, both this and the first Methodist church in Sandy Bay/Rockport were built. The first Methodists had met in Gloucester in 1806, in a nearby Riverdale house then owned by John Edney. For a brief period, 1823–28 or so, Rev. George Pickering held Methodist meetings in the old First Parish meetinghouse at the Green. Lane's mother and brother were active early Methodists, but they attended services at the Harbor Methodist Church, the so-called "Church on the Rock."

The Riverdale Methodist Church was erected by Harris from Ipswich (either Ephraim Harris, 47, carpenter or Isaac T. Harris, 24, housewright). The lumber came from Cambridge on a vessel owned by Captain Levi Cleaves, a Sandy Bay Methodist, and was brought ashore at the Riverdale Mills and hauled the short distance up the hill to the site of the church, on land given by Samuel Curtis. 

Internal improvements to the building were made in 1852, but the outer appearance remained unchanged to the time when Lane painted it, in the distance, in his The Babson Meadows at Riverdale, 1863 (inv. 11)

The bell that still hangs in the steeple is the original, hand cast in 1806 by Paul Revere & Son Boston. It originally hung in the Congregational Old Sloop Church in what is now Rockport and was rung to alert the townspeople of an imminent 1814 attack by the British during the War of 1812. In 1840, since the townspeople of Sandy Bay thought the tone of the bell clashed with that of their other bells, it was sold for $156 and moved to this church where it is still rung, despite a thin crack that resulted from a British cannonball hit.

The church caught fire in 1952, but the bell did not fall from the tower. The major portion of the current building is new, including an altar mural by Howard Curtis.

– Sarah Dunlap (September, 2013)

photo (historical)
Riverdale Methodist Church
E. G. Rollins
c.1870
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Riverdale Methodist Church on Washington Street above the Mills. Mill River and Wheeler's Point to left rear distant background Annisquam Point.

Also filed under: Riverdale Mills »

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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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The White-Ellery House was built in 1710 and is one of just a handful of First Period houses in Eastern Massachusetts that survives to this day with much of its interior detail intact. (First Period means c.1620–1725.) It is a two-story “saltbox” structure with a massive central chimney that once serviced six fireplaces. Stepping inside today, visitors enter much the same house they would have 300 years ago.

The White-Ellery House is on the National Register of Historic Sites because of its unique construction and important interior features. The most important elements of the House include the following:

·Vertical plank frame construction.

·A framed overhang on the front façade.

·Elaborate chamfering (decorative plane work) on ceiling beams, particularly on the first floor.

·Three different examples of painted wall decoration.

·Renaissance-inspired architectural features illustrating the transition from European building traditions to early American ones.

·Very rare examples of raised-field paneled doors between rooms on the first floor.

·Unusually elaborate bolection moldings around fireplaces.

·Several examples of original clay plaster (with hair and eel grass), and skim coat of lime plaster.

·An integral lean-to roof (built at the same time as the rest of the structure).

·One of the most highly developed front staircases of the period in Eastern Massachusetts.

The White-Ellery House was built for the Reverend John White (1677–1760), brother-in-law of Cotton Mather, former Chaplain at Fort Saco, author of New England's Lamentations (1734) and Gloucester’s first settled minister. In keeping with White’s esteemed position in the community, the House exhibits a certain elegance and refinement, perhaps best reflected in the surviving interior details.

At the time the House was constructed, the surrounding area was Gloucester’s Town Green–the center of the community. The Reverend White’s church, also called a meeting house, was located on the green and most of the townspeople lived in the immediate area. The Annisquam River was readily accessible and was an important means of transportation for early residents, most of whom were farmers or simple tradesmen, and their families.

The second owner of the White-Ellery House was James Stevens who kept it as a tavern between 1735 and 1740. The House was owned next by the Ellery family who retained ownership of it until 1947. Although the center of Gloucester long ago moved from the Town Green to the Harbor Village, the site remains the entrance to Gloucester and an important historical site.

The barn alongside the White-Ellery House is also a First Period structure, built in the mid-1730s, exhibiting the same early construction techniques as the House. Recently it has undergone stabilization work by students in the Preservation Carpentry Program at the North Bennet Street School; further work will focus on preservation of the exterior.

White-Ellery House
1890s
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White-Ellery 1890s
Martha Hale Harvey
Image: Photo taken by Martha Hale Harvey
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map
1851 Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport (detail of Old First 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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White-Ellery House Being Moved, September 1947

In 1947, plans were unveiled showing the soon-to-be-constructed Rte. 128 coming into Gloucester directly through the Town Green and literally on the doorstep of the White-Ellery House. Realizing the House’s importance, the City of Gloucester took it by eminent domain and sold the building to the Cape Ann Historical Museum with the proviso that it be moved immediately. Under the leadership of Museum president Alfred Mansfield Brooks, the House was picked up and moved approximately 100 yards to its present location. For the next decade, Brooks oversaw restoration of the structure, a process which successfully preserved much of the original fabric of the House and which has allowed visitors today to see this gem of First Period architecture, still standing on the edge of Gloucester’s former Town Green. 

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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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Cape Ann Scenery: No. 35 Old Ellery House
Procter Brothers, Publisher
Stereoview card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Also filed under: Historic Photographs »

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White-Ellery House
A view of the White-Ellery house in the 1890s
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illustration
White-Ellery House
Fitz Henry Lane
In John J. Babson, History of the Town Gloucester (Gloucester, MA: Procter Brothers, 1860)

See p. 230.

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illustration
White-Ellery House Construction
In Abbott Lowell Cummings, Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625–1725 (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1979)

Diagram showing the frame of the White-Ellery House with its integral lean-to and vertical planking.

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Emmeline (Emma) Rogers Babson (1839–1905) was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts, the eldest of the two daughters of Nathaniel Babson and Emmeline Davis (Rogers) Babson.

Her mother died when Emma was five and her father, who was a house painter by profession, a selectman, and active in the abolitionist movement, never remarried.

Emma attended the Oread Institute of higher education for women in Worcester, Massachusetts, for one year (her sister Maria attended for one term), before returning to Gloucester, where she brought income into the house as a dressmaker. She married William Hovey Friend (1840–1914) in 1869, and immediately moved to San Francisco, California, where her husband had been residing since 1863.  He was a bookkeeper for several firms, and at one time represented the California branch of the Gloucester wholesale fish business of John E. Pew & Sons. In 1896, he became the postmaster of Oakland, California, where he was also trustee and deacon of the First Presbyterian Church for many years. He and Emma had two sons, William Nathaniel Friend, born in 1870 and Roger Berry Friend, born in 1873.

Emma was one of the original organizers of the Ebell Society in 1876 (formed to promote and advance the study by women of literature, science and art), and although suffering from ill health, continued an interest in its affairs until her death. She also helped to organize the Oakland Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, was a member of the General Society of the Mayflower Descendants, and a life member of the YWCA. She was active in the first campaign for woman's suffrage in 1896, and when the Spanish war broke out she was instrumental in organizing the Oakland Red Cross Society, whose first meeting was held at her home. She was also an avid collector of china and wrote authoritatively about it. She wrote many other articles on a variety of subjects, including art. She died in Oakland, California, in 1905.

Lane made paintings for Emma and her sister Maria from three sketches.

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Maria Rogers Babson (1840–1913) was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts, the youngest of the two daughters of Nathaniel Babson and Emmeline Davis (Rogers) Babson. She died unmarried in California at the age of seventy-three.

Her mother died when Maria was four and her father, who was a house painter by profession, a selectman, and active in the abolitionist movement, never remarried. Maria and her older sister Emma both briefly attended the Oread Institute of higher education for women in Worcester, Massachusetts—Maria for one term and Emma for one year.

Maria moved to California in 1870, following her sister who had married and moved there the previous year. In California, both sisters became active in a variety of charitable, social and religious organizations. Maria was a charter member of the Ebell Society and Club (formed to promote and advance the study by women of literature, science and art), its General Curator, and indefatigable promoter for many years. She also was prominent in the Oakland Red Cross Society and helped found the Convalescent Home during the Spanish war. She was treasurer of the fund for the children's room in the Carnegie Library and involved in the organization and perpetuation of the Oakland Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She took a significant interest in the activities, especially the missionary work, of the First Presbyterian Church, being an honorary member of the American Board and an active member of the Occidental Board of Foreign Missions. She died at the home of her nephew in San Francisco on May 1, 1914. (1)

Lane made paintings for Maria and her sister Emma from three sketches.

(1) Past and Present of Alameda County California, Vol. II
  (Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1914)
, 472-475.

Marks & Labels

Marks: Inscribed upper left (in red ink): 57 [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. 46.
Wilmerding 2005: Fitz Henry Lane, ill. 96.
Citation: "Town Parish, 1863 (inv. 127)." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum. http://fitzhenrylaneonline.org/catalog/entry.php?id=127 (accessed July 14, 2020).
Record last updated March 20, 2017. Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
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