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inv. 155
Chebacco River, etc., from West Parish of Gloucester
Graphite on paper 1 sheet of paper
10 1/2 x 24 1/4 in. (26.7 x 61.6 cm)
Inscribed across bottom (in pencil): Chebacco River +c from West Parish of Gloucester / Sketched by F.H. Lane; Inscribed lower right (in pencil): Sketch for Stacy


Although traditionally undated, this drawing is so closely related to Annisquam Marshes near Gloucester, Massachusetts, 1848 (inv. 70) that it should probably also have a date of 1848.

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Historical Materials
Below is historical information related to the Lane work above. To see complete information on a subject on the Historical Materials page, click on the subject name (in bold and underlined).

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West Gloucester, or West Parish as it was more commonly called in Lane’s time, is a world apart in many ways. First it is not on Cape Ann, which is actually an island, it is mainland west of the cape, bounded by Essex and Manchester. Its coastline is all either salt marsh or beach if we use Little River as its southern boundary. The ocean is buffered by barrier beaches and salt marshes, and its warmer and calmer water provides a hatchery for a great number of the species of deepwater fish caught out of Gloucester.

Second Parish was the earliest name of this area. It was populated very early, around 1650, for unknown reasons because the area has poor soil for farming, endless granite moraines and limited access to the sea. From inception through 1716 the parish faithful went a long way to worship. They made their way a number of difficult miles overland to Rust Island, then ferried across the Annisquam River to Wolf Hill and walked again to Meetinghouse Green, site of the First Parish church. Finally they built their own meetinghouse in 1716 on the top of the hill on Tompson Street, still visible from a walking trail. This church lasted until 1846, when it was dismantled and moved and a new church built on Essex Ave.

In Lane’s time it was a very quiet area, the only activity being some small farms, a sawmill, a tidal grist mill on Walker Creek and some clamming and marsh haying. Lane came over at least several times, we have a drawing and painting from 1850 of a sunset view of the Chebacco River off Concord Street, then in 1860 several drawings and paintings of Coffin’s Beach and Freeman’s Encampment at the Loaf, a large sand dune behind Coffin’s Beach.

– Sam Holdsworth

Related tables: Coffin's Beach »  //  Wolf Hill »
View of Major Low's Residence at Fernwood, near West Gloucester Station
c. 1870
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Stereo View

1851 Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport (Fresh Water Cove)
H. F. Walling
44 x 34 in.
Henry Francis Walling, Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Essex Co. Massachusetts. Philadelphia, A. Kollner, 1851
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Massachusetts. H.F. Walling, Civil Engineer. John Hanson, Publisher. 1851. Population of Gloucester in 1850: 7,805. Population of Rockport in 1850: 3,213."

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Mr. and Mrs. John Hancock Stacy lived in the eastern half of the Capt. Joe Foster house on Middle Street, while J. L. Stevens, Jr. lived in the other half. Mrs. Stacy was listed as a subscriber who received "Good Harbor Beach" in April of 1862. (1)  Mr. and Mrs. Stacy sold paintings for Lane by lot. (2)

One of Lane's drawings was a source for a painting for Mr. Hancock; another reads "Sketch for Stacy." 

(1) Cape Ann Advertiser, April 18, 1862.

(2) Sarah Dunlap and Stephanie Buck, Fitz Henry Lane: Family and Friends (Gloucester, MAChurch & Mason Publishing; in association with the Cape Ann Historical Museum2007), 51 n.182, 60 n.211, 77.

1862 Cape Ann Advertiser 4.18.1862
Procter Brothers
Newspaper clipping
Cape Ann Advertiser
Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck

"LANE'S PAINTINGS were distributed on Saturday last among the subscribers, as follows: Harbor Scene, – Thaddeus Friend. View of Bear Island, – George Marsh. Good Harbor Beach, – Mrs. J. H. Stacy. Fancy Sketch, – Capt. Charles Fitz. Scene at Town Parish, – J. H. Johnson, Salem. Beach Scene, – Pattillo & Center. View near Done Fudging, – Ripley Ropes, Salem."

Image: Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck
view ]
Gloucester Lyceum Record Book
Handwritten ledger
Sawyer Free Library
view ]
Joseph L. Stevens, Jr. to Samuel Mansfield, 10.17.1903
Joseph L. Stevens, Jr.
Four-page letter
Collection of the Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive, Gloucester, Mass.

"[The painting] is offered you for $150 on as long time and in as many notes at 3% interest as you choose. . . I believe this to be the only important painting of Gloucester Harbor that Lane never duplicated. . . .Returning from a Gloucester visit while I was still under the roof there, father brought a print of Lane's first Gloucester view, bought of the artist at his Tremont Temple studio in Boston. An extra dollar had been paid for coloring it. For a few years it was a home delight.. . .I had been a few years in Gloucester when Lane began to come, for part of the time a while, if I remember rightly. He painted in his brother's house, "up in town" it then was. I recall visits there to see his pictures. But it was long after, that I could claim more than a simple speaking acquaintance. The Stacys were very kind, aiding him as time went on in selling paintings by lot. I invested in a view of Gloucester from Rocky Neck, thus put on sale at the old reading room, irreverently called "Wisdom Hall." And they bought direct of him to some extent, before other residents. Lane was much my senior and yet we gradually drifted together. Our earliest approach to friendship was after his abode began in Elm Street as an occupant of the old Prentiss [sic-corrected Stacy] house, moved there from Pleasant. I was a frequenter of this studio to a considerable extent, yet little compared with my intimacy at the next and last in the new stone house on the hill. Lane's art books and magazines were always at my service and a great inspiration and delight—notably the London Art Journal to which he long subscribed. I have here a little story to tell you. A Castine man came to Gloucester on business that brought the passing of $60 through my hands at 2 1/2 % commission. I bought with the $1.50 thus earned Ruskin's Modern Painters, my first purchase of an artbook. I dare say no other copy was then owned in town. . . .Lane was frequently in Boston, his sales agent being Balch who was at the head of his guild in those days. So in my Boston visits – I was led to Balch's fairly often – the resort of many artists and the depot of their works. Thus through, Lane in various ways I was long in touch with the art world, not only of New England but of New York and Philadelphia. I knew of most picture exhibits and saw many. The coming of the Dusseldorf Gallery to Boston was an event to fix itself in one's memory for all time. What talks of all these things Lane and I had in his studio and by my fireside!

For a long series of years I knew nearly every painting he made. I was with him on several trips to the Maine coast where he did much sketching, and sometimes was was [sic] his chooser of spots and bearer of materials when he sketched in the home neighborhood. Thus there are many paintings whose growth I saw both from brush and pencil. For his physical infirmity prevented his becoming an out-door colorist."


Marks & Labels

Marks: Inscribed upper left (in red ink): 65 [numbering system used by curator A. M. Brooks upon Samuel H. Mansfield's donation of the drawings to the Cape Ann Museum]

Exhibition History

1993–94 Cape Ann Museum: Cape Ann Historical Association, Gloucester, Massachusetts, Training the Eye and Hand: Fitz Hugh Lane and Nineteenth Century American Drawing Books.

Published References

Cape Ann 1974: Paintings and Drawings by Fitz Hugh Lane, fig. 89.

Related historical materials

Cape Ann Locales
Citation: "Chebacco River, etc., from West Parish of Gloucester, 1850s (inv. 155)." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum. (accessed December 11, 2023).
Record last updated July 7, 2016. Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
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