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Historical Materials: Prints & Illustrations after Lane

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Goode, The Fisheries and Fishing Industries of the United States

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Lane's painting, "A Smart Blow" A Smart Blow, c.1856 (inv. 9) was closely copied by Paul E. Collins and reproduced on Plate 30 in Section V of G. Brown Goode (ed.), The Fisheries and Fishery Industries of the United States (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1884-1887).

While the painting is dated "1856" on the reverse side, both schooner type and fishing method can be dated back to the 1830s, when fishing on Georges Bank was resumed on a large scale. In rendering his version of Lane's painting, Collins made changes in details to make the scene more in keeping with the post-Civil War period, even as the fishing method portrayed was in decline.

Most noticeable are the stern details, the yawl boat on Lane's schooner having been replaced by a dory, as was common in later years. The smaller dory leaves more of the schooner's transom visible, allowing Collins to show the vessel's name and hail, together with some decorative scrollwork. Gloucester fishing schooners named "Dauntless" were scarce in the 19th century, the only one prior to the 1880s being owned by vessel owners Sidney Friend & Brothers, skippered by James G. Craig, and lost in 1870. No relationships between artist, vessel owners, or master have as yet been discovered.

Collins also depicts more men fishing at the rail, and the aftermost hand-line is clearly delineated. On the horizon are two faint outlines of schooners under sail which are not seen in Lane's painting. Collins' treatment of the sky differs from Lane's, but the seas of both artists are virtually identical. The schooner under shortened sail at far right is also the same in both versions.

On balance, Collins' "revisions" of Lane's painting were meant to update the depicted technology, making the image applicable to later hand-lining methods on Georges Bank.

– Erik Ronnberg

Related tables: Cod / Cod Fishing »  //  Georges Bank, Mass. »

The George's Bank Cod Fishery
Paul E. Collins
Gravure plate printing on pulp paper in G. Brown Goode The Fisheries and Fishery Industries of the United States (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office)
7 1/2 x 5 7/8 in.
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, Gloucester, Mass.

See pl. 30.

Derived with modifications from Lane's painting, /entry:9/, the image depicts fishing in heavy weather on Georges Bank. While Lane's version was intended to depict this fishery in the 1840s, Collins' version shows a dory on the stern davits instead of a yawl boat—a practice that became common after the Civil War.

– Erik Ronnberg

Citation: "Prints & Illustrations after Lane." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum.§ion=Goode%2C+%3Ci%3EThe+Fisheries+and+Fishing+Industries+of+the+United+States%3C%2Fi%3E&ref=catalog:9 (accessed July 24, 2024).
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