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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

Gloucester from Brookbank, 1848 (inv. 42)

Collection: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Bequest of Martha C. Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1815–1865 (48.444)
Ten Pound Island, Gloucester, 1850s (inv. 17)

Collection: Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Gift of Bessie Stanwood, 1948 (1238)
Gloucester Harbor, 1852 (inv. 38)

Collection: Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Deposited by the City of Gloucester, 1952. Given to the city by Mrs. Julian James in memory of her grandfather Sidney Mason, 1913 (DEP. 200)
Three Master on the Gloucester Railways, 1857 (inv. 29)

Collection: Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Deposited by the City of Gloucester, 1952 (DEP. 202)
Gloucester Harbor, 1847 (inv. 23)

Collection: Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Gift of Estate of Samuel H. Mansfield, 1949 (1332.20)
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)
Boston Harbor, c.1850 (inv. 48)

Collection: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1815–1865, by exchange (66.339)
Salem Harbor, 1853 (inv. 53)

Collection: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Bequest of Maxim Karolik (64.465)

» 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

Noah Brooks' Library

Historical Materials:
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Brooks, Noah » 
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Historic Photographs »

1859 Cape Ann Advertiser 12.2.1859
The first Ten Pound Island Lighthouse
J.F. Wonson & Co's Wharf, showing fish flakes

Historical Materials:
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Drying Fish » 
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Flake Yard »

Architectural plans for Pavilion Hotel, front elevation

Historical Materials:
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Pavilion Hotel »

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 December 13, 2019).
Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
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