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Catalog entry

inv. 137
View from Rocky Neck, Gloucester
1850s
Graphite on paper (3 sheets)
9 x 34 in. (22.9 x 86.4 cm)
Inscribed lower left (in pencil): View from Rocky Neck, Gloucester / F.H. Lane del. / A picture was painted from this sketch for H.G. Sanford

Commentary

From the northernmost of the three western points of Rocky Neck, Lane sketched Gloucester’s Outer Harbor with a southwesterly direction of view. Central to this image is Ten Pound Island which dominates the drawing’s center sheet. At far left, Eastern Point and its lighthouse are on the horizon, while in the right background, West Gloucester’s shoreline stretches from Stage Fort and Fresh Water Cove, southward to Mussel Point. Norman’s Woe rock and its surrounding cove lie hidden behind Ten Pound Island.

The foreground is dominated by Rocky Neck’s namesake terrain and the primary reason why it was settled so late in Gloucester’s history. This did not deter Lane from his appreciation of its rugged formations and depicting them in all their varieties of contours and fractured forms. So absorbing are these features, it is easy to forget that they would be but a small part of the painting wherein sky and atmospheric effects would dominate the finished painting.

At far right is a rock formation with a spindle marker atop it. Known as “Black Rock,” the rock posed a serious hazard to navigation for ships entering Gloucester’s Inner Harbor. Identified only by name in the U. S. Coast Survey’s preliminary chart of Gloucester Harbor (1854), by the next year, the finished chart showed a spindle marker labeled “Black Rock beacon” (see chart detail).

From his drawing, Lane made a painting for Horatio G. Sanford, possibly just prior to Sanford’s move from Gloucester to Worcester. Sanford returned to Gloucester in the 1870s, but no later record of the painting’s existence or location has been found.

–Erik Ronnberg

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Verso

Supplementary Images

Chart with detail of "Black Rock"
Photo: © U.S. Coast Survey, NOAA Historic Collection
Viewpoint map for Inv. 137
Photo: © U.S. Coast Survey, NOAA Historic Collection
 

Explore catalog entries by keywords view all keywords »

Subject Types:   Harbor Scene »
Cape Ann Locales:   Eastern Point & Lighthouse »   //   Rocky Neck »   //   Ten Pound Island & Light »
Objects:   Beacon / Monument / Spindle »
Building Types:   Lighthouse »

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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Rocky Neck lies on the eastern side of Gloucester’s Inner Harbor and along with Ten Pound Island provides a vital block to the southerly and westerly seas running down the Outer Harbor. Called Peter Mud’s Neck in the late 1600s, it was an island at high tide until the 1830s, reachable only by walking over the sand bar connecting it to the mainland at low tide. When the stone causeway was put in in the 1830s it not only made the Rocky Neck a functional neighborhood of East Gloucester, it secured the southwest end of Smith’s Cove against swell from the Outer Harbor and made the cove a tight and secure anchorage.

In Lane’s time it was primarily sheep pasture with a small population living on the fringes. In 1859 a marine railway was built at the end of the neck which is still in operation. As a result of Gloucester’s burgeoning fish trade, wharves and fish businesses quickly sprang up along the shore of the newly secure Smith’s Cove. In 1863 another landmark Gloucester business, the marine antifouling copper paint  manufactory of Tarr and Wonson was built on the western tip. The Hopper-esque dark red building still stands and guards the entrance to the Inner Harbor directly across from Fort Point.

Lane drew the view for his second and third Gloucester lithographs from Rocky Neck looking across to the Inner Harbor to the town. He also did a major painting Gloucester Harbor from Rocky Neck, 1844 (inv. 14) which shows the sheep, shepherd and dog on the rocky pasture in the foreground with the busy harbor and town unfolding before them.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, Rocky Neck became an active waterfront neighborhood with a row of grand houses on its spine overlooking the harbor and town. Edward Hopper painted one of the more spectacular Beaux Arts houses on that ridge, the afternoon light catching its extraordinary trim and mansard roof, still beautifully preserved today.

Rocky Neck is perhaps best known today as Gloucester’s, and arguably America’s, most famous art colony. Beginning in the 1880’s and extending through the 1970’s, multiple generations of artists, including Homer, Duveneck, Hopper, Sloan, Twachtman and many others, representing every artistic style, have summered and worked, socialized and relaxed in the quaint and once ramshackle confines of the Neck.

photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 35 Rocky Neck
Cook and Friend, publisher
c.1870
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Also filed under: Historic Photographs »

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photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 114 Gloucester Harbor from Rocky Neck
John S. E. Rogers
c.1870
Stereograph card
Procter Brothers, Publisher
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"Gloucester Harbor from Rocky Neck, Looking Southwest. This gives a portion of the Harbor lying between Ten Pound Island and Eastern Point. At the time of taking this picture the wind was from the northeast, and a large fleet of fishing and other vessels were in the harbor. In the range of the picture about one hundred vessels were at anchor. In the small Cove in the foreground quite a number of dories are moored. Eastern Point appears on the left in the background."

Southeast Harbor was known for being a safe harbor.

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map
Locator map: Rocky Neck
H. F. Walling
1851
44 x 34 in.
John Hanson, Publisher
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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publication
Undated clipping
1892?
Newspaper clipping in "Authors and Artists "scrapbook
p.42
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

This painting was considered by far the best of the several paintings by Fitz H. Lane and was a view of Gloucester from Rocky Neck at the time Mr. Lane painted it in 1856. From this painting Mr. Lane had finished a number of lithographs which were sold at a very low price. This did not bring to Mr. Lane much ready money and he was somewhat disappointed so he mounted several of these on canvas, painted them in oil and sold them to several of his friends for $25 and there are a number of these at present held in Gloucester and valued very highly.

The original painting was given to the town about the time the new town house was built and was put on the wall back of the stage in the large hall. When the building was found to be on fire it was impossible to get into the big hall to save anything and so this picture was destroyed. It was a genuine regret that this happened because of its historic value and being considered as the best work that Mr. Lane had done. A study of the pictures finished by Mr. Lane from this original is very interesting and particularly by reason of the type of fishing vessel and shipping in the harbor. In the foreground of the painting is a fine type of the Surinamers of those days which sailed out of Gloucester and brought wealth to many Gloucester families.

Image: Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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Ten Pound Island guards the entrance to Gloucester’s Inner Harbor and provides a crucial block to heavy seas running southerly down the Outer Harbor from the open ocean beyond. The rocky island and its welcoming lighthouse is seen, passed, and possibly blessed by every mariner entering the safety of Gloucester’s Inner Harbor after outrunning a storm at sea. Ten Pound Island is situated such that the Inner Harbor is protected from open water on all sides making it one of the safest harbors in all New England.

Legend has it that the island was named for the ten pound sum paid to the Indians for the island, and the smaller Five Pound Island deeper in the Inner Harbor was purchased for that lesser sum. None of it makes much financial sense when the entirety of Cape Ann was purchased for only seven pounds from the Indian Samuel English, grandson of Masshanomett the Sagamore of Agawam in 1700. From approximately 1640 on the island was used to hold rams, and anyone putting female sheep on the island was fined. Gloucester historian Joseph Garland has posited that the name actually came from the number of sheep pens it held, or pounds as they were called, and the smaller Five Pound Island was similarly named.

The island itself is only a few acres of rock and struggling vegetation but is central to the marine life of the harbor as it defines the eastern edge of the deep channel used to turn the corner and enter the Inner Harbor. The first lighthouse was lit there in 1821, and a house was built for the keeper adjacent to the lighthouse. 

In the summer of 1880 Winslow Homer boarded with the lighthouse keeper and painted some of his most masterful and evocative watercolor views of the busy harbor life swirling about the island at all times of day. Boys rowing dories, schooners tacking in and out in all weather, pleasure craft drifting in becalmed water, seen together they tell a Gloucester story of light, water and sail much as Lane’s work did only several decades earlier.

photo (historical)
Postcard of Harbor View and Ten Pound Island
Unknown
c.1900
Colored lithograph
Cape Ann Museum Library and Archive
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photo (historical)
Ten Pound Island Lighthouse
Stebbins, N.L. Publisher
1891
Photograph

From The Illustrated Coast Pilot with Sailing Directions. The Coast of New England from New York to Eastport, Maine including Bays and Harbors, N. L. Stebbins, 1891.

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map
Locator map: Ten Pound Island
H. F. Walling
1851
44 x 34 in.
John Hanson, Publisher
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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artwork
The Old Fort and Ten Pound Island
Fitz Henry Lane
1850s
Oil on canvas
22 x 36 in.
Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., deposited by the Collection of Addison Gilbert Hospital, 1978 (DEP. 201)

Detail of party boat.

Image: Cape Ann Museum

Also filed under: Party Boat »

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map
1819 Cape Ann Harbor plan
E. Blunt
1841
Engraving of 1819 survey taken from American Coast Pilot 14th edition
9 1/2 x 8 in.
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
D32 FF5

Also filed under: Dolliver's Neck »   //  Eastern Point »   //  Maps »   //  Norman's Woe »

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publication
1865 Gloucester Telegraph
1865
Newspaper
Gloucester Telegraph

"By the will of the late Fitz H. Lane, Esq., his handsome painting of the Old Fort, Ten Pound Island, etc., now on exhibition at the rooms of the Gloucester Maritime Insurance Co., was given to the town... It will occupy its present position until the town has a suitable place to receive it."

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photo (historical)
Fort Point
E. G. Rollins
1870s
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

View from top of Unitarian Church on Middle Street looking southeast, showing the Fort and Ten Pound Island. Tappan Block and Main Street buildings between Center and Hancock in foreground.

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illustration
View of the Old Fort and Harbor 1837
Fitz Henry Lane, attr.
1860
In John J. Babson, History of the Town Gloucester (Gloucester, MA: Procter Brothers, 1860)
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, Gloucester, Mass.

See p. 474.

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A "spindle" is a fixed marker to indicate a hazard to navigation (such as a rock which couldn't be seen at high tide). It serves the same purpose as a channel buoy, a "light beacon," or a “monument,” to warn vessels away from dangerous places or stretches of coastline. Spindles are usually iron rods with some sort of geometric object (round, flat, or triangular) on top, brightly painted (usually red) for visibility. Monuments, like the ones you see in Lane’s depictions of Half Way Rock or Norman’s Woe Reef, were made of stone and look like stumpy obelisks—or grave monuments. They were also essential as reference points for the early coastal surveys in their efforts to make more accurate charts.

 In Castine, the notable square monument in the center of the harbor marked Hosmer's Ledge.

Related tables: Harbor Rocks »  //  Norman's Woe »
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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photo (historical)
Black Rock Spindle, Gloucester Harbor
N. L. Stebbins, Publisher
1891
Photograph in The Illustrated Coast Pilot with Sailing Directions. The Coast of New England from New York to Eastport, Maine including Bays and Harbors, published by N. L. Stebbins, Boston
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artwork
Gloucester Mackerel Fishing Fleet, Gloucester Harbor
Stephen Parrish
July 26, 1881
Pencil and ink on paper
15 x 22 1/8 in.
Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Gift of Mr. Donald K. Usher, in memory of Mrs. Margaret Campbell Usher, 1984 (2401.19)
Image: Cape Ann Museum
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Hosmer Ledge Monument, off Hospital Island
George E. Collins
Stereograph card
Castine Historical Society Collections (1996.1)
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Point Allerton Monument
N.L. Stebbins, Publisher
1891
Photograph in The Illustrated Coast Pilot with Sailing Directions. The Coast of New England from New York to Eastport, Maine including Bays and Harbors, published by N. L. Stebbins, Boston.
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The Ten Pound Island light was built on a three-and-a-half acre island at the eastern end of Gloucester Harbor. Built as a conical stone tower, the original 20-foot-tall Ten Pound Island Light was first lit in October, 1821 after the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Town of Gloucester ceded 1.7 acres to the U.S. Government for the construction of an inner harbor lighthouse to help mariners navigate the harbor. Ten Pound Island light was a popular subject with artists, including Winslow Homer, who boarded with the lighthouse keeper at Ten Pound Island in the summer of 1880. It is frequently featured in Lane's paintings of Gloucester Harbor.

This information has been shared with the Lane project by Jeremy D'Entremont. More information can be found at his website, www.newenglandlighthouses.net or in The Lighthouse Handbook New England. This information has also been summarized from Paul St. Germain's book, Lighthouses and Lifesaving Stations on Cape Ann.

Related tables: Ten Pound Island »
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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artwork
Engraving of the first Ten Pound Island lighthouse
1871
Lithograph
History of Ten Pound Island Light, Gloucester, Mass.
�© Jeremy D'Entremont
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photo (historical)
Postcard of Harbor View and Ten Pound Island
Unknown
c.1900
Colored lithograph
Cape Ann Museum Library and Archive

Also filed under: Ten Pound Island »

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photo (historical)
Ten Pound Island Lighthouse
Stebbins, N.L. Publisher
1891
Photograph

From The Illustrated Coast Pilot with Sailing Directions. The Coast of New England from New York to Eastport, Maine including Bays and Harbors, N. L. Stebbins, 1891.

Also filed under: Ten Pound Island »

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photo (historical)
The first Ten Pound Island Lighthouse
c.1860s
Photograph
U.S. Coast Guard
Photography courtesy of : http://www.newenglandlighthouses.net

The photo shows the first lighthouse constructed in 1821.

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illustration
View of the Old Fort and Harbor 1837
Fitz Henry Lane, attr.
1860
In John J. Babson, History of the Town Gloucester (Gloucester, MA: Procter Brothers, 1860)
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, Gloucester, Mass.

See p. 474.

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The Eastern Point Light is located in the town of Gloucester, Massachusetts on the east side of the entrance to Gloucester Harbor. In 1829, an unlit stone beacon was erected on Eastern Point to help mariners navigating Gloucester Harbor. Shortly thereafter, in 1832, a wrought-iron and copper lantern was added to the stone tower, and the first Eastern Point Light was born. During the 1840s, Gloucester became one of the most important fishing ports in America, and to cope with the increased fishing traffic, a new Eastern Point Light was built in 1848. The new 34 foot tower gained the nickname "The Ruby Light" due to its unique fixed red light. The Eastern Point Light was further improved upon in the following decades with the addition of a fourth-order Fresnel lens and fog bell.  

This information has been shared with the Lane project by Jeremy D'Entremont. More information can be found at his website, www.newenglandlighthouses.net or in The Lighthouse Handbook New England. This information has also been summarized from Paul St. Germain's book, Lighthouses and Lifesaving Stations on Cape Ann. 

Related tables: Eastern Point »
photo (historical)
Eastern Point Light
Photograph
U.S. Coastguard
http://www.uscg.mil/history/weblighthouses/easternpoint1832.JPG

For over 100 years the fishermen of Gloucester have been guided back to their home port by a lighthouse on Eastern Point. The present brick tower, painted a gleaming white, and standing on the long rocky point forming the eastern side of the harbor, was built in 1890, replacing on the same foundation the original tower built in 1832. Before 1832 a still older lighthouse, on Ten-Pound Island well inside of the harbor, had served as an entrance light, but this light was never visible until ships had actually found the entrance, hence the building of a lighthouse on the Eastern Point where it could be seen from far offshore.

Courtesy United States Coast Guard.

Also filed under: Historic Photographs »

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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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publication
1861 Cape Ann Advertiser 8.9.1861
Procter Brothers
8.9.1861
Newspaper

 "There are quite a number of visitors in town at the present time, who come to spend a few weeks by the seaside, during the sultry weather of August."

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publication
1862 Cape Ann Advertiser 1.31.1862
1.31.1862
Newspaper clipping
Cape Ann Advertiser
Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck

"MARINE PAINTING. – F. H. Lane, Esq., has recently completed a picture for Dr. H. E. Davidson of this town. The painting represents a sunset scene in our harbor, which is taken near the cut bridge, introducing the beach covered with rocks and pebbles, steep bank, and Stage Fort, with the surrounding scenery in the vicinity. . . It is impossible to give an adequate idea of this painting by any description of ours, for it must be seen to be appreciated. It is the largest painting the artist has yet finished, and, in our opinion, his best. The painting is now on exhibition at the Studio, for a short time, where those who are interested in works of art can have an opportunity of viewing it."

Image: Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck
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photo (historical)
Eastern Point Light
1891

Plate from The Illustrated Coast Pilot with Sailing Directions: The Coast of New England from New York to Eastport, Maine including Bays and Harbors, published by N. L. Stebbins,1896.

Also filed under: Eastern Point »

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photo (historical)
Eastern Point Lighthouse
1860s
Photograph
National Archives
Photography courtesy of : http://www.newenglandlighthouses.net

Shows the lighthouse constructed in 1848.

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photo (historical)
Eastern Point Lighthouse
John Heywood
1860s
Stereograph card
Published by Frank Rowell
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Also filed under: Eastern Point »

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object
Fourth Order Fresnel Lens for Eastern Point Light Beacon
Barbier, Renard and Turenne, Paris, France
mid-19th century
Four circular glass prism lenses in a brass frame:
Lens diameters 19". Base 21" square x 19-1/2" high.
Cape Ann Museum. On permanent loan from the United States Coast Guard, 2013

When installed, the light source was fixed and the lens mount rotated.

Also filed under: Objects »

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According to the notes on View from Rocky Neck, Gloucester, 1850s (inv. 137), a painting was made for Horatio Sanford from a sketch. 

Horatio G. Sanford was born in Belchertown, New Hampshire, in 1808, a son of Ichabod and Nancy Howe Sanford. By 1825, Sanford was working in Boston for Charles Warren in the dry goods business. According to Sanford’s obituary, he also worked for a while “in the mills” in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. (1)

In 1835, Sanford was married to Harriet D. Harkin, a daughter of James Harkin and Elizabeth Plummer (Hough) Harkin of Gloucester (Harriet was born in Gloucester in 1809.) Presumably around the time of his marriage, Sanford went into the dry goods business on Main Street—then called Spring Street—in Gloucester.

Sanford moved to Worcester for a few years during the mid-1850s, taking his wife and child with him. They were back to Gloucester, however, by 1870, and back in the dry goods business on Spring Street; it was a Boston Branch grocery business. The business was later sold to Messrs. B. Haskell & Sons. Harriet D. Harkin died on June 15, 1878 in Gloucester. Horatio G. Sanford died in May 1891.

They had one son, H. Frank Sanford, who lived at 49 Middle Street—the “old Hough House.” H. Frank later boarded on nearby Church Street and spent his last years in the “city home.” H. Frank is buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Boston.

 (1) Cape Ann Advertiser (Gloucester, Massachusetts: Procter Brothers, May 1, 1891).

Marks & Labels

Marks: Inscribed upper left (in red ink): 62 [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. 63.
Citation: "View from Rocky Neck, Gloucester, 1850s (inv. 137)." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum. http://fitzhenrylaneonline.org/catalog/entry.php?id=137 (accessed November 25, 2020).
Record last updated May 19, 2017. Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
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