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inv. 175
Camden Mountains from the Penobscot Bay
Graphite on paper
10 3/8 x 16 1/8 in. (26.4 x 41 cm)
Inscribed across bottom (in pencil): Camden Mts from the Penobscot Bay – Taken from steamer's deck in passing – by F.H. Lane / Aug 1851 / A small painting was made from this sketch. Once in my possession and afterward sold by H.G. Balch; Inscribed verso on left edge (in pencil): Jonathan L. Stevens house


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Subject Types:   Coastal Scene »   //   Harbor Scene »
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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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Chart showing Lane's location for drawings made in 1851
Erik Ronnberg/U.S. Coast Survey chart
c. 1875
U.S. Coast Survey
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The Camden Mountains, also called the Camden Hills, are located just northeast of the town of Camden. The range includes Mount Megunticook, upon whose shoulders Mount Battie sits, Cameron Mountain, and Bald Rock Mountain. They stand high above West Penobscot Bay between Camden and Lincolnville, looking east toward Mount Desert and the rising sun. The Wabenaki, loosely defined as the "people of the dawn," greeted their maritime world, "the dawn land," from the Camden Hills, and other high points, including Mount Wallamatogus in Penobscot (460 feet), Awan-adjo  (at Bluehill), Caterpillar Hill in Sedgwick (with its panoramic sweep which stretches from the Camden Hills to Mount Desert and far out into Penobscot Bay), and atop Cadillac Mountain, Mount Desert. It is from the same peaks that artists and pilgrims alike still climb to view Penobscot Bay.

Mad-kam-ig-os'-sek, "big high land," is the Wabenaki word for Camden, and Meg-un-ti-cook, "big mountain harbor," the name for the harbor, is now used for Mount Megunticook. The inner harbor, quiet and safe, would have been the ideal place for a large, oceangoing canoe to lay up when the sea was rough. Capt. John Smith visited this place in 1614, during the Beaver Wars, and noted that the high mountains were used as a refuge from the Mik'maq of the Maritimes who fought the Wabenaki of Penobscot Bay to maintain their place as middlemen in the fur trade. These raiders would travel along the Downeast coast in their shallops. Mount Battie, of many spellings, was noted as Mount Betty in documents dating from 1757. It is a European corruption of a word borrowed from another place, the Madambettox Hills of Rockland. 

-Mark Honey


Eckstorm, Fannie Hardy, "Indian Place-Names of the Penobscot Valley and the Maine Coast," University of Maine Studies, 2nd Series, #55, November 1941, reprinted 1960 by the University of Maine Press. DeLorme's Atlas. Frank G Speck's "Penobscot Man," University Of Pennsylvania Press, 1940.

1862 Gloucester Telegraph 3.8.1862
Gloucester Telegraph

"The Reef of Norman's Woe ... is now commemorated in painting too, one of the finest pictures from Lane's easel. ... The sketch was made at the pretty spot commonly called, we believe, Master Moore's Cove.  Being some little way off the main track to Rafe's Chasm, it is seldom visited, except by the more inquisitive lovers of nature who leave the beaten road to pry out such pleasant places. ... We wish it might find a home buyer, rather than go off to enrich another community." Flowery description follows, then "There is another and larger work in the artist's studio, which, happily, is to be retained. It received much well deserved notice and commendation. The subject is a view southward from the 'Cut,' with the picturesque promontory commonly known as 'Stage Fort,' and historically interesting as the supposed spot of the 'Landing at Cape Ann' in the middle distance, and Eastern Point on the extreme left." More description follows, "Among other attractions of the studio, and particularly worthy of mention, is a cabinet picture with an effect similar to the Norman's Woe. The subject is chosen from the many sketches of the grand scenery of the Maine sea-coast with which the artist's portfolio is rich. It is a view of the Camden mountains sketches from the Graves, a jagged ledge far out in the bay, which is accessible in only the smoothest water."

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In general, brigs were small to medium size merchant vessels, generally ranging between 80 and 120 feet in hull length. Their hull forms ranged from sharp-ended (for greater speed; see Brig "Antelope" in Boston Harbor, 1863 (inv. 43)) to “kettle-bottom” (a contemporary term for full-ended with wide hull bottom for maximum cargo capacity; see Ships in Ice off Ten Pound Island, Gloucester, 1850s (inv. 44) and Boston Harbor, c.1850 (inv. 48)). The former were widely used in the packet trade (coastwise or transoceanic); the latter were bulk-carriers designed for long passages on regular routes. (1) This rig was favored by Gloucester merchants in the Surinam Trade, which led to vessels so-rigged being referred to by recent historians as Surinam brigs (see Brig "Cadet" in Gloucester Harbor, late 1840s (inv. 13) and Gloucester Harbor at Dusk, c.1852 (inv. 563)). (2)

Brigs are two-masted square-rigged vessels which fall into three categories:

Full-rigged brigs—simply called brigs—were fully square-rigged on both masts. A sub-type—called a snow—had a trysail mast on the aft side of the lower main mast, on which the spanker, with its gaff and boom, was set. (3)

Brigantines were square-rigged on the fore mast, but set only square topsails on the main mast. This type was rarely seen in America in Lane’s time, but was still used for some naval vessels and European merchant vessels. The term is commonly misapplied to hermaphrodite brigs. (4)

Hermaphrodite brigs—more commonly called half-brigs by American seamen and merchants—were square-rigged only on the fore mast, the main mast being rigged with a spanker and a gaff-topsail. Staysails were often set between the fore and main masts, there being no gaff-rigged sail on the fore mast.

– Erik Ronnberg


1. Howard I. Chapelle, The National Watercraft Collection (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1960), 64–68.

2. Alfred Mansfield Brooks, Gloucester Recollected: A Familiar History (Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1974), 62–74. A candid and witty view of Gloucester’s Surinam Trade, which employed brigs and barks.

3. R[ichard] H[enry] Dana, Jr., The Seaman's Friend (Boston: Thomas Groom & Co., 1841. 13th ed., 1873), 100 and Plate 4 and captions; and M.H. Parry, et al., Aak to Zumbra: A Dictionary of the World's Watercraft (Newport News, VA: The Mariners’ Museum, 2000), 95.

4. Parry, 95, see Definition 1.

Brig "Cadet" in Gloucester Harbor
Fitz Henry Lane
late 1840s
Oil on canvas
17 1/4 x 25 3/4 in.
Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Gift of Isabel Babson Lane, 1946 (1147.a)
Photo: Cape Ann Museum

Detail of brig "Cadet."

Also filed under: "Cadet" (Brig) »

Chart showing the voyage of the brig Cadet
Painting on board
72 x 48 in.
Collection of Erik Ronnberg

Chart showing the voyage of the brig Cadet to Surinam and return, March 10–June 11, 1840.

Image: Erik Ronnberg

Also filed under: "Cadet" (Brig) »   //  Surinam Trade »

Full-rigged Brig
Engraving in R. H. Dana, The Seaman's Friend, 13th ed. (Thomas Groom & Co. Publisher, 1873)

Detail of a full-rigged brig is square-rigged at both her masts. 

Silhouettes of vessel types
Charles G. Davis
Book illustrations from "Shipping and Craft in Silhouette" by Charles G. Davis, Salem, Mass. Marine Research Society, 1929. Selected images
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Boston Locales, Businesses, & Buildings People: Balch, William Y.

William Y. Balch was a framer and art dealer in Boston who sold some of Lane's paintings. He sold one to a "Gentleman from Maine" who bought a picture for $485.38. Balch's store was on Tremont Row, located between the Tremont Temple and Gleason's Publishing Hall.

1856 Expense Account 11.8.1856
Samuel Sawyer
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection exp016

"November 8. Lane. Homestead

Frame at Balch
Museum &c. &c."

Image: Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
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 verso (in red ink): 58 [numbering system used by curator A. M. Brooks upon Samuel H. Mansfield's donation of the drawings to the Cape Ann Museum]

Exhibition History

No known exhibitions.

Published References

Cape Ann 1974: Paintings and Drawings by Fitz Hugh Lane, fig. 109.
Wilmerding 1988a: Paintings by Fitz Hugh Lane, ill. in b/w p. 141 fig. 16, Camden Mountains from the Penobscot Bay.

Related historical materials

Maine Locales & Buildings
Vessel Types
Citation: "Camden Mountains from the Penobscot Bay, 1851 (inv. 175)." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum. (accessed December 11, 2023).
Record last updated January 30, 2017. Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
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