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Welcome to Fitz Henry Lane Online

Fitz Henry Lane Online is a freely-accessible interactive and interdisciplinary online resource created by the Cape Ann Museum. The website is organized around a catalog of the paintings, drawings, and lithographs of nineteenth-century American painter Fitz Henry Lane (1804–1865).

The Cape Ann Museum, located in Gloucester, Massachusetts (Lane’s birthplace and home for most of his life) has the world’s largest collection of Lane’s paintings, drawings, lithographs, and related material. The website is intended to provide information of interest to a broad audience, and to serve as a resource for information and analysis of Lane’s work. The website focuses on both the formal, aesthetic qualities and provides detailed information on the historical context of his pictures. For more see About the Project.

News:

Two Unusual Hunting Scenes: Lane's Early Watercolor Shooting Seabirds (1842) and Rafes Chasm (1853), Oil on Canvas


Shooting Seabirds, c.1842 (inv. 789)


This exquisite early watercolor is one of only several we know by Lane. It is relatively small, 8 1/2 inches by 10 1/2 inches and is dated 1842. Lane was still working as a lithographer in Boston and is clearly employing those same techniques here with careful outline drawing and literal coloring. At first look it could be mistaken for a hand-colored lithograph. The work is signed on the front and is inscribed on the back, “John S. Chase Esq. Presented by Mr. Geo Parker, March 21, 1842.”

The site is likely a view from the Magnolia shore on the west side of Gloucester’s outer harbor looking east across to the Eastern Point lighthouse and the open ocean beyond. There is a wonderful primitive quality to the scale and perspective of the boats and the stylized drawing of the breaking waves. Lane has given equal emphasis to all elements of the composition, and while the coloring is quite literal he has created a lovely harmony with the various blues employed across the composition. It is a calm and jewel-like work with the innocent charm of 1840s America.

Lane’s growth in sophistication over time is clearly evident in a very similar scene from the same coast eleven years later,  Rafes Chasm, 1853 (inv. 597), a relatively large oil on canvas, 34 1/4 x 48 1/4 inches. Here the drama of the sky and sea is rendered in Turner-like explosions of foam and sunlight nearly obscuring the small figure of the hunter in the foreground.

–Sam Holdsworth

Rafe's Chasm oil painting by Fitz Henry Lane
Rafes Chasm, 1853 (inv. 597)

F.H. Lane's First Complete Lithography Exhibition at the Cape Ann Museum

Drawn from Nature & on Stone: The Lithographs of Fitz Henry Lane

OCT. 7, 2017—MARCH 4, 2018 

View all recent news »

Explore works in the Catalog using the Interactive Feature

The Babson Meadows at Riverdale, 1863 (inv. 11)

Collection: Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Gift of Roger W. Babson, 1937 (779.03)
Harbor of Boston, with the City in the Distance, c.1846–47 (inv. 88)

Collection: The Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund and partial gift of Travers Newton, Joanna Newton Riccardi, and Georgia Newton Pulos (2004.35)
Three Master on the Gloucester Railways, 1857 (inv. 29)

Collection: Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Deposited by the City of Gloucester, 1952 (DEP. 202)
Brig "Antelope" in Boston Harbor, 1863 (inv. 43)

Collection: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Bequest of Martha C. Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1815–1865 (48.449)
A Calm Sea, c.1860 (inv. 6)

Collection: Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., 1932 (642.13b)
Gloucester Harbor, 1859 (inv. 33)

Collection: Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Gift of Edwin Barbey, 1981 (2229.00)
Babson and Ellery Houses, Gloucester, 1863 (inv. 10)

Collection: Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Gift of Roger W. Babson, 1937 (779.02)
Fresh Water Cove from Dolliver's Neck, Gloucester, Early 1850s (inv. 45)

Collection: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Bequest of Martha C. Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1815–1865 (48.445)

» Browse all the works in the catalog.

» Browse works by type:
Paintings  //  Drawings  //  Prints

» See Fitz Henry Lane works on view at the Cape Ann Museuminteractive features.

Historical Materials

First Order Fresnel Lens for Thacher Island lighthouse beacon
The first Ten Pound Island Lighthouse
1859 Cape Ann Advertiser 12.2.1859
1851 Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport (detail showing wharves)

Browse all Historical Materials »

The Cape Ann Museum is grateful to the following organizations for their support of Fitz Henry Lane Online:
Wyeth Foundation for American Art National Endowment for the Arts Institute of Museum and Library Science Thomfohrde Foundation Danversbank Charitable Foundation
Citation: "Welcome." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum. http://fitzhenrylaneonline.org/homepage.php (accessed August 18, 2019).
Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
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