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Catalog entry

inv. 31
Coffin's Beach at Sunset
Coffin's Beach
c. 1862
Oil on canvas
22 1/2 x 36 3/4 in. (57.2 x 93.3 cm)
Signed lower right: F. H. Lane
On view at the Cape Ann Museum

Commentary

Coffin’s Beach is located at the westernmost end of Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester’s West Parish, and it takes its name from Peter Coffin. In 1688, Coffin and his family acquired and settled a tract of land approximately five hundred acres in size that ran between the Annisquam and Chebacco Rivers. The tip of the land at the mouth of the Chebacco River has long been known as Two Penny Loaf. In 1747, the property descended to Coffin’s grandson, also named Peter. Around the time of the American Revolution, the younger Coffin moved to Gloucester’s Harbor Village, where he became a “prominent and useful citizen.” (1)

During Fitz Henry Lane’s lifetime, Coffin’s and Wingaersheek Beaches and their uplands were still largely undeveloped. In the decades following the Civil War, pressure intensified in the area as ambitious plans for residential developments were put forth.

This painting is presumed to have been owned at one time by David W. Low (1833–1919), the father of Frederic F. Low (1872–1957), who bequeathed the work to the Cape Ann Museum. David Low and Amanda F. Friend were married in 1862. By the mid-1870s, they lived at Fernwood in West Gloucester, not far from Wingaersheek and Coffin’s Beaches.

 – Martha Oaks

Reference:

1. John James Babson, History of the Town of Gloucester, Cape Ann (Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1972), 69.

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Explore catalog entries by keywords view all keywords »

Subject Types:   Coastal Scene »
Landscape Types:   Beach »
Seasons / Weather:   Sunset »
Vessel Types:   Schooner »
Cape Ann Locales:   Coffin's Beach / Two Penny Loaf »

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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"Coffin's Beach extends from the Essex River on the west to the Annisquam River on the east. The rocks called Two Penny Loaf, where Lane positioned himself in View of Coffin's Beach, 1862 (inv. 41), lie at the Essex end of the beach. Coffin's Beach was named for the landowners who established a farm there in the seventeenth century. In 1775 Peter Coffin (c.1724–96), an ardent patriot, and a handful of friends held off Captain John Linzee (or Lindsay), a loyalist, and his crew from the "Falcon" when they attempted to land and make off with sheep from the farm. However, the farm was abandoned in Lane's time, and it was probably the presence of John Charles Fremont (1813–90) encamped on Coffin's Beach in August 1862 that drew the artist to the site." (1)

Reference:

1. Karen Quinn with Sandra Kelberlau and Jean Woodward, "Rediscovering Fitz Henry Lane's 'View of Coffin's Beach' on Cape Ann," The Magazine Antiques (2006): 68.

photo (historical)
Coffin's Beach
Joseph H. Clark
September 30, 1888
Stereograph card
5 x 8
Cape Ann Museum Library and 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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publication
1862 Cape Ann Advertiser 10.31.1862
1.31.1862
Newspaper clipping
Cape Ann Advertiser
Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck

"MARINE PAINTING. – Mr. F. H. Lane has recently finished a splendid painting of Coffin's Beach, taken from the 'Loaf', which is one of the artist's happiest efforts. In the foreground is represented a ledge of cragged rocks over which the sea is tumbling in feathery foam; while stretching away to the right is the long sand beach and open bay. In the distance are seen the villages of Annisquam and Lanesville. The sun is just rising behind the hills, throwing his golden beams over the whole scene, forming a picture truly delightful to gaze upon. There is an air of solitary grandeur about the painting which we have seldom seen equalled, and we hope the artist will be induced to place it on exhibition for a few days."

Image: Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck
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publication
1863 Gloucester Telegraph 12.23.1863
12.23.1863
Newspaper
Gloucester Telegraph

"The Cape Ann Sanitary Fair: [Held Tues–Fri in the Pavilion Hotel by favor of the owner Sidney Mason of New York] In another part of the Hall 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 of $1 each."

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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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map
Locator map: Coffin's Beach and the Loaf
H. F. Walling
1851
44 x 34 inches
John Hanson, Publisher
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Also filed under: Loaf, The »

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Also known as "Two Penny Loaf," this is a rocky outcropping at the northern end of Coffin's Beach on Ipswich Bay in Gloucester, Massachusetts, from which Lane drew and painted Coffin's Beach. The Loaf was also the site of his creation of a drawing and a painting (now lost) of General Fremont's encampment.

Related tables: Coffin's Beach »
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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publication
1862 Cape Ann Advertiser 8.22.1862
1862
Newspaper clipping
Cape Ann Advertiser
Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck

"GEN. FREMONT with his family and a portion of his staff, have been encamped at the 'Loaf' for the past fortnight. On Monday afternoon, in company with a few friends, we visited Coffin's Beach, and made a brief call at their encampment, having a strong desire to see the man of whom we have heard and read..."

Image: Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck
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publication
1862 Unknown Newspaper
1862
Unknown newspaper

"Fremont's Camp.- Mr. Fitz H. Lane, has recently finished a very pretty painting representing the encampment of Col. Fremont at the "Loaf." It is executed with the artist's usual ability and gives a faithful idea of the scene. The painting is now on exhibition at the store of Procter Bros."

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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.

[+]
map
Locator map: Coffin's Beach and the Loaf
H. F. Walling
1851
44 x 34 inches
John Hanson, Publisher
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Also filed under: Coffin's Beach »

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Colonel David W. Low (1833–1919) was the son of Captain Frederick Gilman Low and father of Frederic Friend Low. As an adult, Colonel Low lived in West Gloucester, Massachusetts, not far from Coffin's Beach. He was a veteran of the Civil War and a civic leader. Among his children was Frederic Friend Low, who bequeathed Coffin's Beach at Sunset, c.1862 (inv. 31) to the Cape Ann Museum after allowing his niece Martha F. Low to enjoy it in her home during her lifetime. 

View of Major Low's Residence at Fernwood, near West Gloucester Station
c. 1870
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Stereo View

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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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publication
1863 Gloucester Telegraph 12.26.1863
12.26.1863
Newspaper
Gloucester Telegraph

"The Cape Ann Sanitary Fair: [Thursday in the Curiosity Room] We noticed and particularly admired a beautiful wreath of Wax Flowers, the work of a lady artist (Mrs. Charles Mellen) who not only excels in this delicate art, but adds to it the genius so rare in women, of a high rank in oil painting. One of her landscape scenes hangs in the same room. We are happy and grateful to acknowledge again a new donation of a Painting from Mr. Lane, at half price. subject: "Little Good Harbor Beach." This, like the former, was sold at raffle and will realize to the Fair a handsome amount... The following articles were drawn in raffle: Mr. Lane's Painting of a "View from the Loaf," $100-Capt. David W. Low at one of the Town Meetings held during the Summer, the volumes presented to the Town by the City of Gloucester, Eng.,were exhibited, and the Selectmen were instructed to acknowledge the receipt of them. They did so, and also forwarded one of Lane's colored engravings of Gloucester Harbor, and one of Walling's maps of the town. [Friday] 2nd picture of Mr. Lane's, "Good Harbor Beach," $100- Mrs. Eli F. Stacy."

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photo (historical)
The Old Stone House, Ivy Court, Gloucester, Mass.
unknown photographer
Photograph

"Lizzie Low & Uncle David Low" is written on the photograph after the title.

Image: Photo courtesy Cape Ann Museum
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Exhibition History

No known exhibitions.

Published References

Craig 2006a: Fitz H. Lane: An Artist's Voyage through Nineteenth-Century America, pl. 28, Coffin's Beach.

Related historical materials

Cape Ann Locales
People
Citation: "Coffin's Beach at Sunset, c. 1862 (inv. 31)." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum. http://fitzhenrylaneonline.org/catalog/entry.php?id=31 (accessed October 20, 2019).
Record last updated September 23, 2015. Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
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