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Catalog entry

inv. 42
Gloucester from Brookbank
Oil on canvas
20 x 30 1/8 in. (50.8 x 76.5 cm)
Signed and dated lower left (on rock): F H Lane / 1848


The ancestral home of Boston businessman Samuel Sawyer was Brookbank, located on Freshwater Cove in Gloucester. The house was situated on the hillside above the cove, looking down on the wharf, and the fishing schooners and granite sloops that used the public landing there.  Sawyer was a great benefactor to the town of Gloucester and a patron of Lane’s.

Apparently Lane visited Brookbank frequently to sketch, and there are a number of sketches and their derivative paintings showing the cove and Brookbank from several different perspectives, often from from Dolliver’s Neck, back across the cove, and past the cove to the town of Gloucester beyond. View of Gloucester from "Brookbank," the Sawyer Homestead, c.1856 (inv. 95), Fresh Water Cove from Dolliver's Neck, Gloucester, Early 1850s (inv. 45), Sawyer Homestead, 1860 (not published), and Gloucester Harbor, 1856 (inv. 75). This painting, and its related drawing Gloucester from Brookbank, 1856 (inv. 111), take a slightly different view: an elevated perspective from the left of the house, perhaps in front of the barn, down to the cove and across the outer harbor. (Ten Pound Island and the lighthouse can be seen in the distance.)

The dark and detailed foliage, meticulously depicted rock wall, and solid-looking cows contrast with the almost translucent depiction of the harbor, distant land, and vessels, demonstrating Lane’s attention to atmosphere and light, for which he is now so well known.

– Melissa Geisler Trafton

Related Work in the Catalog

Provenance (Information known to date; research ongoing.)

Mrs. John LeFavour Stanley, Gloucester, Mass.
Mrs. Louise S. Campbell, Montclair, N.J., by 1938
Charles D. Childs, Boston, 1943
Maxim Karolik, Newport, R.I., 1943
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1948

Exhibition History

M. Knoedler & Co., New York, New York, Commemorative Exhibition of Karolik Private Collection Paintings by Martin J. Heade and Fitz Hugh Lane, May 3–28, 1954., no. 2.
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California, Painters by the Sea, August 8–September 3, 1961.
DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts, Fitz Hugh Lane: The First Major Exhibition, March 20–April 17, 1966., no. 15.
Traveled to: Colby College Art Museum, Waterville, Maine, April 30–June 6, 1966.
DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts, Man and His Kine, April 23–May 28, 1972.
John Wilmerding, William A. Farnsworth Library and Art Museum, Rockland, Maine, Fitz Hugh Lane 1804-1805, July 12–September 15, 1974., no. 33.
National Gallery of Art, Washington, District of Columbia, Paintings by Fitz Hugh Lane, May 15–September 5, 1988., no. 9, ill., p. 30.
Traveled to: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Mass., October 5–December 31, 1988.
Newport Art Museum, Newport, Rhode Island, A Significant Story: American Paintings and Decorative Arts from the M. and M. Karolik Collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, July 3–September 12, 1993.

Published References

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1815 to 1865. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; published for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1949.
Baur, John I.H. Commemorative Exhibition: Paintings by Martin Johnson Heade and Fitz Hugh Lane from the Karolik Collections in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. New York: M. Knoedler & Co., 1954. (exhibition brochure)., no. 2. ⇒ includes text
McLanathan, Richard. Fitz Hugh Lane (Museum of Fine Arts Picture Book Number Eight). Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1956; 1972 second ed., p. 2. ⇒ includes text
American Paintings 1815–1865: One Hundred and Fifty Paintings from the M. and M. Karolik Collection in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1957.
Painters by the Sea. Santa Barbara, CA: Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1961.
Wilmerding, John. Fitz Hugh Lane, 1804–1865: American Marine Painter. Salem, MA: The Essex Institute, 1964., fig. 14, p. 49.
The American Neptune, Pictorial Supplement VII: A Selection of Marine Paintings by Fitz Hugh Lane, 1804–1865. Salem, MA: The American Neptune, 1965., pl. XXXI, no. 126, Gloucester from Brookbank. ⇒ includes text
Wilmerding, John. Fitz Hugh Lane: The First Major Exhibition. Lincoln, MA: De Cordova Museum; in association with Colby College Art Museum, 1966., no. 15, ill. ⇒ includes text
American Paintings in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1969.
Wilmerding, John. Fitz Hugh Lane. New York: Praeger, 1971.
Fitz Hugh Lane 1804-1865. Rockland, ME: William A. Farnsworth Library and Art Museum, 1974., no. 33.
Hoffman, Katherine. "The Art of Fitz Hugh Lane." Essex Institute Historical Collections 119 (1983)., p. 30.
Wilmerding, John. Paintings by Fitz Hugh Lane. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art; in association with Harry N. Abrams, 1988., no. 9, ill. in color, p. 30.
Moses, Michael A. "Mary B. Mellen and Fitz Hugh Lane." Antiques Magazine Vol. CXL, No. 5 (November 1991)., p. 831. ⇒ includes text
Peters, Lisa N., and Karen Quinn. Painters of Cape Ann 1840–1940: One Hundred Years in Gloucester and Rockport. New York: Spanierman Gallery, 1996.
Slawek, Tadeusz. Revelations of Gloucester: Charles Olson, Fitz Hugh Lane, and Writing of the Place. New York: Peter Lang, 2003., Il. 3.
Wilmerding, John. Fitz Henry Lane. Gloucester, MA: Cape Ann Historical Association, 2005. Reprint of Fitz Hugh Lane, by John Wilmerding. New York: Praeger, 1971. Includes new information regarding the artist's name., ill. 55.

Related historical materials

Gloucester Buildings & Businesses
Cape Ann Locales
Vessel Types
Flags, Lighthouses, & Navigation Aids
Maritime & Other Industries & Facilities
Citation: "Gloucester from Brookbank, 1848 (inv. 42)." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum. http://fitzhenrylaneonline.org/catalog/entry.php?id=42 (accessed August 21, 2019).
Record last updated March 7, 2017. Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
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