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Sidney Mason (1799–1871) was the second of the four sons of John Mason and Phene Shipley. One of his brothers, Alphonso, was killed in the famous disaster of the burning of the steamship "Lexington." His father was master of the Gloucester workhouse, and a tavern keeper who owned the Puritan House hotel. His father, John Mason, was also the cartographer who drew the 1830/31 map of Gloucester. Lane may have been paid to color this map for sale by W.E.P. Rogers.
At the age of twelve, Sidney went to Boston, where he got a job polishing brasses. Over the course of several years, he rose to the position of clerk. In 1820, he went to the West Indies as supercargo and settled in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he became a wealthy sugar merchant. From 1829 to 1835, he was also the first United Sates Consul in San Juan and it was there that he met and married his first wife Marequita B. Dorado. They had two children, Catalina Julia and Sidney Alphonso, and returned to live in Gloucester where Marequita died in 1835.
After her death, Sidney installed his children in American schools and embarked on an extensive tour of Europe, only returning on the death of his son in 1841. He took up residence in New York, and two years later he married Catherine Gartz Robb, a schoolmate of his daughter. She outlived him by several decades, retiring to Paris, where she ran a small hotel “frequented by the musical and artistic celebrities of the day.” (1)
His daughter Catalina married Theodorus Bailey Myers. It was their daughter, Cassie Mason Mayers, who married Julian James, and in 1913, gave to the City of Gloucester the “beautiful and interesting painting of Gloucester and its harbor painted some sixty years ago by Mr. Lane." It had previously hung in her grandfather’s New York house. (2)
In 1849, Sidney purchased a lot of land next to Pavilion Beach in Gloucester and, removing the old windmill that stood on it, built the Pavilion Hotel there. By 1850, he also owned the old family hostelry—the Atlantic House hotel (now the Blackburn Tavern) on the corner of Washington and Main Streets.
Sidney Mason owned several Lane paintings, including one of his former San Juan estate that he commissioned Lane to paint c.1850.
– Stephanie Buck (2015)
(1) Cassie Mason (Meyers) James, Biographical Sketches of the Bailey-Myers-Mason Families (Library of Congress, 1908), 48.
(2) Gloucester City Archives: Letters to City Council for July 15, 1913, #230.
"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."
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.