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Historical Materials: Contemporary Artists
Robert Salmon was born in Whitehaven, Cumberland, England as Robert Salomon in 1775. He spent his early years working in England specializing in marine art. He then emigrated to Boston in 1828. He prospered in the Boston art scene and quickly became a prominent artist. In 1842 he left Boston and returned to Europe where he painted until 1845.
John Wilmerding, Robert Salmon: Painter of Ship & Shore. Salem: Peabody Museum.
In this article, a moonlight view of the harbor of Cape Ann by Lane is described in detail by a viewer and his skill in depicting the Cape Ann coastline is praised. Lane's associates, Salmon and Birch, are mentioned, but as comparisons to Lane. "Those who visited his room, were highly pleased with the skill he manifested in portraying the beauties of our coast."
"-Mr. Lane, the distinguished painter of marine views, is in town on a flying visit. Lane is a resident of Gloucester in this State. Since Salmon's death, we have no one, who can paint a ship and an ocean prospect like him. His "squalls at sea" are the best things of the kind, that we remember to have seen."
Gloucester Telegraph: pg. 2, Column. 4
Courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society
"The Boston Transcript, speaking of our fellow townsman Lane, says: - 'Since Salmon's death, we have no one, who can paint a ship and an ocean prospect like him. His "squalls at sea" are the best things of the kind, that we remember to have seen.'"
"...It was my good fortune, in the company of a few friends, to visit Mr. Lane's studio where are several fine paintings. Among these were a night scene, with the full moon shining upon the dark tranquil waters with a fire in the distance, which uniting with the soft rays of the moon gave it a most delightful effect. Also a view of Boston with its magnificent harbor, on which are many fine vessels, steamboats, &c. The picture represents a beautiful, calm day, with many fine craft all ready for sea, with their graceful shadows reflected so life-like in the waters, that one feels he too is standing on board, will soon be moving on that expanse which Mr. Lane has made so delightfully placid, that even the greatest coward would be allured into a sea voyage.
I suppose it is generally known that Mr. Lane stands highest– as a marine artist– in the world. Salmon by many was considered his superior, while others gave Lane the precedence. Salmon has passed away with the last year, leaving his immortal gifts and laurels to Europe, while Mr. Lane still lives to bring down the glorious clouds, and make the mighty ocean subservient to his tastes.–
May he long live to gladden the world with his precious gifts, and enjoy his delightful home which refined tastes are beautifying.
His residence commands one of the finest water prospects in town. Standing upon the threshold of his delightful home, we witnessed one of those glorious sunsets which can only be seen in our New England Springs, and as we looked abroad, my friend remarked,"truly, Mr. L. has made the waste places glad." –LOUISE.
[The view in Boston Harbor of which our fair correspondent speaks has been placed on exhibition for a few days in the Reading Room of the Marine Insurance Company. It is a rare specimen of excellence in naval painting. There is a type of almost all the various classes of vessels composing our marine, and so truthfully rendered as to defy criticism. –Ed.Tel]