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Catalog entry

inv. 216
Brookbank, The Sawyer Homestead
Sawyer Homestead
1860
Oil on canvas
23 1/2 x 40 in. (59.7 x 101.6 cm)
On view at the Cape Ann Museum

Commentary

This painting shows Samuel Sawyer's house, Brookbank, at Freshwater Cove, the landmark flagpole on top of the hill above the house, many vessels in the harbor, and a glimpse of the Fort and town of Gloucester behind. In the foreground is a two-wheeled cart, of the type commonly used in the period. Sawyer made several architectural changes to his house—in this painting the house does not have the dormers he later added. Sawyer was a Gloucester and Boston businessman and philantropist, including his support of the Gloucester Lyceum, which became the Sawyer Free Library. He was also an art collector and often supported Lane. It is too bad that more is not known about his purchase of this painting, which was presumabably a commission of his house and property.

In 1856 Sawyer recorded in his expense account that he paid $100 for "Lane Homestead" and $21 for a frame at Boston framer and art dealer, William Y. Balch.

– Martha Oaks

[+] See More

Related Work in the Catalog

Supplementary Images

 

Explore catalog entries by keywords view all keywords »

Subject Types:   Landscape »
Landscape Types:   Field / Meadow »
Cape Ann Locales:   Brookbank »   //   Fresh Water Cove »
Animals & People:   Livestock (horse / sheep / cow) »
Objects:   Wagon / Cart »

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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Brookbank was an early eighteenth-century white gambrel-roofed house on Fresh Water Cove which was owned and occupied by Samuel Sawyer and his ancestors. It is possible to trace apparent renovations to the house through Lane's pictures; at first it is depicted as a white house without dormers and a simple brown barn Fresh Water Cove, Gloucester, c.1864 (inv. 112); then dormers appear on the house and the barn is white with a cupola Fresh Water Cove, etc., from Dolliver's Neck, 1850s (inv. 113). In Gloucester from Brookbank, 1848 (inv. 42) a cobb wharf (log cabin-like structure) and boardwalk are visible. By Fresh Water Cove from Dolliver's Neck, Gloucester, Early 1850s (inv. 45) the house seems to have additions. 

Related tables: Fresh Water Cove »  //  Sawyer, Samuel »
photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 61 View at Brookbank
Procter Brothers, Publishers
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Stereo view of Brookbank guest house or boathouse.

Also filed under: Historic Photographs »

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photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 220 Entrance at Brookbank
Heywood
Published by Frank Rowell
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Stereograph card

Also filed under: Historic Photographs »

[+]
photo (historical)
American Scenery: New England Series No. 219 Mansion House, Brook Bank
n.d.
Stereographic card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Penciled on reverse: "Mansion House, Brook Bank [sic], Sam'l Sawyer now Hammond, Freshwater Cove"

Also filed under: Historic Photographs »   //  Sawyer, Samuel »

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map
1851 Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport (Fresh Water Cove)
H. F. Walling
1851
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."

[+]
manuscript
1864 Diary Entry 8.25.1864
Samuel Sawyer
8.25.1864
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection

"August 25. Called to see Mr. Lane to make a sketch of old Homestead for Haughtons."

Image: Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
[+]
photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 52 Fresh Water Cove
John S. E. Rogers, Publisher
1860s
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

A view of a Cove on the western side of Gloucester Harbor, with the landing at Brookbank. Houses are seen in the woods back. A boat with two men is in the foreground.

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photo (historical)
Freshwater Cove
John Heywood
1860s
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Also filed under: Fresh Water Cove »

[+]
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Lane did a remarkable series of paintings from Brookbank, the Sawyer homestead, which overlooks Fresh Water Cove. They show Dolliver’s Neck and how it protects the cove from the harbor. It is also visible in Dolliver's Neck and the Western Shore from Field Beach, 1857 (inv. 3), though somewhat disguised by the rest of the western shore in that view. He did a drawing and painting from Dolliver’s Neck looking west in Fresh Water Cove from Dolliver's Neck, Gloucester, Early 1850s (inv. 45).

Dolliver’s Neck is a small arm of land pointing north off the western shore of the Gloucester’s Outer Harbor. It is the cradling arm that creates Fresh Water Cove, a small cove where Samuel de Champlain found fresh water on his first visit to Gloucester Harbor in 1606. It was named for Samuel Dolliver who came from Marblehead in 1652 and bought a farm there.

In Lane’s time there were a few fishing shacks visible in some of his paintings where onshore fishermen could put their boats in from the pebble beach and salt marsh and be out in the center of the harbor without the long row or sail from the Inner Harbor. Fresh Water Cove itself is not deep enough at low tide for larger vessels to moor there so it has retained its small scale and intimate feel down through the years.

In 1900 a Coast Guard lifesaving station was built and manned on Dolliver’s Neck and many lives were saved along that rocky and treacherous coast between Gloucester and Magnolia.

Related tables: Lone Pine »
publication
1858 Cape Ann Advertiser 1.2.1858
Procter Brothers
1858
Newsprint
From bound volume owned by publisher Francis Procter
Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck

"We visited the studio of Mr. Fitz H. Lane a few days since, and were much pleased in examining some fine paintings from the pencil of this talented artist. Among the collection was a view of Long Beach, in this town, with which we were particularly interested.

The scene is taken immediately after a storm. The waves with their snowy crests are rolling in upon the beach, breaking against the sides of a vessel which has been driven ashore. In the background is seen the residence of Mr. Fessenden, and the surrounding scenery; on the right are visible the high headlands near the residence of Mr. Geo. Hovey, while stretching far away in the distance may be seen Fresh Water Cove, Dolliver's Neck, and the Old Pine Tree, the whole forming a beautiful picture and true to Nature.

Several other paintings were in process of completion, one a beautiful sunset scene, which was really beautiful to gaze upon; also a view of a gale at sea, with a gallant ship plunging madly through the waves, forming a striking contrast to the mild placid scene of the picture at its side.

Mr. Lane's paintings are true to nature, and in viewing them one can but admire the skill and genius of this talented artist, We advise all lovers of the art, who wish to spend an hour pleasantly, to visit the studio of Mr. Lane on Locust St. We can assure them that they will come away highly gratified, and have an earnest desire to call again." (1)

(1) See p. 2, column 3, Courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society

Image: Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck
[+]
map
1851 Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport (Fresh Water Cove)
H. F. Walling
1851
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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map
1819 Cape Ann Harbor plan
E. Blunt
1841
Engraving of 1819 survey taken from American Coast Pilot 14th edition
9 1/2 x 8 in.
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
D32 FF5

Also filed under: Eastern Point »   //  Maps »   //  Norman's Woe »   //  Ten Pound Island »

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1849 Gloucester Telegraph 9.22.1849
9.22.1849 (date uncertain)
Newspaper

"Mr. Lane has just completed a third picture of the Western Shore of Gloucester Harbor, including the distance from 'Norman's Woe Rock' to 'Half Moon Beach.' It was painted for Mr. William E. Coffin of Boston, and will be on exhibition at the artist's rooms for only a few days; we advise all our readers who admire works of art, and would see one of the best pictures Mr. Lane has ever executed..."

 "...solitary pine, so many years a familiar object and landmark to the fisherman."

[+]
map
1854 U.S. Coast Survey, Gloucester Harbor, Sketch
A. D. Bache, Superintendent, Preliminary Chart of Gloucester Harbor, Massachusetts. (Washington, D.C.: Survey of the Coast of the United States, 1854.)
Collection of Erik Ronnberg
[+]
photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 54 Dolliver's Neck
Published by John S. E. Rogers
c.1860
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Taken from Steepbank, on the western side of Gloucester Harbor, and showing a small boat at anchor in the cove, then the Neck, and the sea beyond.

Also filed under: Fresh Water Cove »   //  Historic Photographs »   //  Lone Pine »   //  Steepbank »

[+]
photo (historical)
Dolliver's Neck
John Heywood
1860s
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"Cape Ann Scenery, John S. E. Rogers, Low's Block.  #54 Dolliver's Neck. Taken from Steepbank, on the western side of Gloucester Harbor, and showing a small boat at anchor in the cove, then the Neck and the sea beyond."

Also filed under: Historic Photographs »

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photo (historical)
Freshwater Cove and Dolliver's Neck
Dr. Gilbert Norris Jones
c.1895
4 x 5 in.
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Freshwater Cove and Dolliver's Neck from the water off Stage Fort.

Also filed under: Fresh Water Cove »

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map
Locator map: Dolliver's Neck
H.F. Walling
1851
44 x 34 inches
John Hanson, Publisher
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
[+]
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The owner of this flagpole has not been determined, but it is an interesting landmark in Lane's paintings. Often it appears in his drawings and not in his paintings, and Western Shore of Gloucester Outer Harbor, 1857 (inv. 107) contains the only image of a flag actually flying from the pole. 

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Through the years, this point and its fortifications had many names: Watch House Point, the Old Battery, Fort Defiance, Fort Head, and now just "The Fort." In 1793, Fort Defiance was turned over to the young United States government and was allowed to deteriorate. During the War of 1812 it was described as being "in ruins," and any remaining buildings burned in 1833. It was resuscitated in the Civil War and two batteries of guns were installed. The City of Gloucester did not regain ownership of the land until 1925.

The first fortifications on this point, guarding the entrance to the Inner Harbor, were put up in the 1740s, when fear of attack from the French led to the construction of a battery armed with twelve-pounder guns.  Greater breastworks were thrown up in 1775, after Capt. Lindsay and his sloop-of-war the "Falcon" attacked the unprepared town. They were small and housed only a few cannon and local soldiers.  Several other fortifications were at various times erected around the harbor: Fort Conant at what is now Stage Fort Park, another on Duncan's Point (near site of Lane's house) and the Civil War fort on Eastern Point. None of these preparations was ever called upon to actually defend the town.

Lane during his lifetime created a long series of images of the point and the condition of its fortifications. In 1832 there were still buildings standing, and the point had not yet been used for major wharves and warehouses. By the time of his painting Gloucester Harbor, 1852 (inv. 38), one can see that the earthwork foundation, but no superstructures, survived. 

– Sarah Dunlap

artwork
Gloucester from the Outer Harbor
Fitz Henry Lane
1852
Graphite and watercolor on paper (2 sheets)
9 1/2 x 31 1/2 in. (24.1 x 80 cm)
Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass.

Detail showing fort.

Image: Cape Ann Museum
[+]
photo (historical)
Harbor Cove and skyline from the fort
unknown
c.1870
4 x 6 in.
Cape Ann Museum, Benham Collection

George Steele sail loft, William Jones spar yard, visible across harbor. Photograph is taken from high point on the Fort, overlooking business buildings on the Harbor Cove side.

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illustration
View of the Old Fort and Harbor 1837
Fitz Henry Lane, attr.
1860
In John J. Babson, History of the Town Gloucester (Gloucester, MA: Procter Brothers, 1860)
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, Gloucester, Mass.

See p. 474.

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publication
1860 Gloucester Telegraph 6.30.1860
6.30.1860
Newsprint
Gloucester Telegraph

About picture of Old Fort hanging in the Gloucester Bank: "This picture is chiefly of interest on account of its preserving so accurately the features of a view so familiar to many of our citizens and which can never exist in reality."

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map
1834–35 Mason Map: Gloucester Harbor (detail 3)
John Mason
1834–35
24 x 38 in.
Gloucester City Archives

"Drawn on a scale of one hundred feet to an inch. By John Mason 1834–45 from Actual Survey showing every Lott and building then standing on them giving the actual size of the buildings and width of the streets from the Canal to the head of the Harbour & part of Eastern point as farr as Smith's Cove and the Shore of the same with all the wharfs then in use. Gloucester Harbor 1834–35."

This map is especially useful in showing the Fort.

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1851 Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport (detail showing wharves)
H. F. Walling
1851
44 x 34 in.
John Hanson, Publisher
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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publication
1862 Cape Ann Advertiser 8.22.1862
8.22.1862
Newsprint
Cape Ann Advertiser
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"Fort Hill was occupied by Capt. H. C. Mackay and John Lowe, as a flake-yard, and there were but one or two old fish-houses in the vicinity. The improvements at this point during the last fifteen years have left no traces of its former appearance, almost every landmark having been obliterated. A very good idea of the place as it then appeared may be obtained from the painting of Fitz H. Lane, Esq., now on exhibition at the Reading Room under the Gloucester Bank."

Image: Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
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publication
1865 Gloucester Telegraph
1865
Newspaper
Gloucester Telegraph

"By the will of the late Fitz H. Lane, Esq., his handsome painting of the Old Fort, Ten Pound Island, etc., now on exhibition at the rooms of the Gloucester Maritime Insurance Co., was given to the town... It will occupy its present position until the town has a suitable place to receive it."

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publication
1867 Gloucester Telegraph, 10.23.1867
10.23.1867
Newsprint
Gloucester Telegraph

At the dedication of the Town House, speaker, "read the following letter:

To the Selectmen of Gloucester: / Gents: The will of our late Townsman, Fitz. H. Lane, contains this provision: / I give to the inhabitants of the Town of Gloucester, the picture of the Old Fort, to be kept as a memento[sic] of one of the localities of olden time; the said picture now hanging in the Reading Room under the Gloucester Bank, and to be there kept until the Town of Gloucester shall furnish a suitable and safe place to hang it. / The original sketch was taken twenty-five years ago, but the boats and vessels introduced are those of a quarter of a century earlier still. The painting was executed in 1859, six years before his decease."

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photo (historical)
Fort Point
E. G. Rollins
1870s
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

View from top of Unitarian Church on Middle Street looking southeast, showing the Fort and Ten Pound Island. Tappan Block and Main Street buildings between Center and Hancock in foreground.

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photo (historical)
View from Belmont House, of a fishing wharf, with the Old Fort of 1812 opposite
William A. Elwell
1876
Photograph
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Ignatius Weber's windmill (now defunct) is shown.

Image: Cape Ann Museum
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Fresh Water Cove is located on the west side of Gloucester’s Outer Harbor. It is protected from the harbor waters and the south-easterly seas by the arm of Dolliver’s Neck reaching north from the western shore. It’s a small, very still cove, only a few hundred yards from its mouth to the innermost shore.

The cove was visited by Samuel de Champlain in 1606. He was the first known European to enter Gloucester Harbor, which he named Le Beauport. He named Fresh Water Cove for the fresh water springs he found there, one a bit up from the shore, the other flowing below the high tide line and only accessible at half tide.

The cove, while very well protected from the weather, is small and very shallow at low tide and was never suitable for any large vessels, though there were fishing shacks along the shores edge and small boats were easily pulled up on the sand and salt marsh in its inner recesses. There was a wharf built in the early 1800s to service a granite quarry just up the hill from the cove, which could apparently handle larger vessels at high tide.

In Lane’s time, the most significant landmark from the cove was Brookbank, the Sawyer homestead where Samuel E. Sawyer was born in 1818. Sawyer made a fortune in Boston and returned to Brookbank every summer for fifty years. He became one of Gloucester’s first philanthropists. Lane did a series of paintings from the fields in front of Brookbank looking to the east from the house over Fresh Water Cove, the arm of Dolliver’s Neck and the harbor beyond. He also painted the opposite view in Fresh Water Cove from Dolliver's Neck, Gloucester, Early 1850s (inv. 45) looking west from Dolliver’s Neck over the cove to the Sawyer homestead and surrounding shoreline. Each of these paintings captures the perfect serenity of a high summer day in this secluded cove just off the busy harbor.

photo (historical)
Freshwater Cove
John Heywood
1860s
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Also filed under: Brookbank »

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photo (historical)
Freshwater Cove
Henry Friend
c.1868
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
Image: Cape Ann Museum
[+]
map
1851 Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport (Fresh Water Cove)
H. F. Walling
1851
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."

[+]
photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 54 Dolliver's Neck
Published by John S. E. Rogers
c.1860
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Taken from Steepbank, on the western side of Gloucester Harbor, and showing a small boat at anchor in the cove, then the Neck, and the sea beyond.

Also filed under: Dolliver's Neck »   //  Historic Photographs »   //  Lone Pine »   //  Steepbank »

[+]
1849 Gloucester Telegraph 9.22.1849
9.22.1849 (date uncertain)
Newspaper

"Mr. Lane has just completed a third picture of the Western Shore of Gloucester Harbor, including the distance from 'Norman's Woe Rock' to 'Half Moon Beach.' It was painted for Mr. William E. Coffin of Boston, and will be on exhibition at the artist's rooms for only a few days; we advise all our readers who admire works of art, and would see one of the best pictures Mr. Lane has ever executed..."

 "...solitary pine, so many years a familiar object and landmark to the fisherman."

[+]
map
1854 U.S. Coast Survey, Gloucester Harbor, Sketch
A. D. Bache, Superintendent, Preliminary Chart of Gloucester Harbor, Massachusetts. (Washington, D.C.: Survey of the Coast of the United States, 1854.)
Collection of Erik Ronnberg
[+]
publication
1858 Cape Ann Advertiser 1.2.1858
Procter Brothers
1858
Newsprint
From bound volume owned by publisher Francis Procter
Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck

"We visited the studio of Mr. Fitz H. Lane a few days since, and were much pleased in examining some fine paintings from the pencil of this talented artist. Among the collection was a view of Long Beach, in this town, with which we were particularly interested.

The scene is taken immediately after a storm. The waves with their snowy crests are rolling in upon the beach, breaking against the sides of a vessel which has been driven ashore. In the background is seen the residence of Mr. Fessenden, and the surrounding scenery; on the right are visible the high headlands near the residence of Mr. Geo. Hovey, while stretching far away in the distance may be seen Fresh Water Cove, Dolliver's Neck, and the Old Pine Tree, the whole forming a beautiful picture and true to Nature.

Several other paintings were in process of completion, one a beautiful sunset scene, which was really beautiful to gaze upon; also a view of a gale at sea, with a gallant ship plunging madly through the waves, forming a striking contrast to the mild placid scene of the picture at its side.

Mr. Lane's paintings are true to nature, and in viewing them one can but admire the skill and genius of this talented artist, We advise all lovers of the art, who wish to spend an hour pleasantly, to visit the studio of Mr. Lane on Locust St. We can assure them that they will come away highly gratified, and have an earnest desire to call again." (1)

(1) See p. 2, column 3, Courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society

Image: Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck
[+]
photo (historical)
Cape Ann Scenery: No. 52 Fresh Water Cove
John S. E. Rogers, Publisher
1860s
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

A view of a Cove on the western side of Gloucester Harbor, with the landing at Brookbank. Houses are seen in the woods back. A boat with two men is in the foreground.

[+]
photo (historical)
Freshwater Cove and Dolliver's Neck
Dr. Gilbert Norris Jones
c.1895
4 x 5 in.
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Freshwater Cove and Dolliver's Neck from the water off Stage Fort.

Also filed under: Dolliver's Neck »

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map
Locator map: Fresh Water Cove
H. F. Walling
1851
44 x 34 in.
John Hanson, Publisher
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive
[+]
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The Ten Pound Island light was built on a three-and-a-half acre island at the eastern end of Gloucester Harbor. Built as a conical stone tower, the original 20-foot-tall Ten Pound Island Light was first lit in October, 1821 after the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Town of Gloucester ceded 1.7 acres to the U.S. Government for the construction of an inner harbor lighthouse to help mariners navigate the harbor. Ten Pound Island light was a popular subject with artists, including Winslow Homer, who boarded with the lighthouse keeper at Ten Pound Island in the summer of 1880. It is frequently featured in Lane's paintings of Gloucester Harbor.

This information has been shared with the Lane project by Jeremy D'Entremont. More information can be found at his website, www.newenglandlighthouses.net or in The Lighthouse Handbook New England. This information has also been summarized from Paul St. Germain's book, Lighthouses and Lifesaving Stations on Cape Ann.

Related tables: Ten Pound Island »
map
1830 Mason Map
John Mason
1830
Series Maps. v. 13: p. 17
SC1 / series 48X
Massachusetts Archives, Boston
Image: Courtesy of the Massachusetts Archives
[+]
artwork
Engraving of the first Ten Pound Island lighthouse
1871
Lithograph
History of Ten Pound Island Light, Gloucester, Mass.
�© Jeremy D'Entremont
[+]
photo (historical)
Postcard of Harbor View and Ten Pound Island
Unknown
c.1900
Colored lithograph
Cape Ann Museum Library and Archive

Also filed under: Ten Pound Island »

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photo (historical)
Ten Pound Island Lighthouse
Stebbins, N.L. Publisher
1891
Photograph

From The Illustrated Coast Pilot with Sailing Directions. The Coast of New England from New York to Eastport, Maine including Bays and Harbors, N. L. Stebbins, 1891.

Also filed under: Ten Pound Island »

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photo (historical)
The first Ten Pound Island Lighthouse
c.1860s
Photograph
U.S. Coast Guard
Photography courtesy of : http://www.newenglandlighthouses.net

The photo shows the first lighthouse constructed in 1821.

[+]
illustration
View of the Old Fort and Harbor 1837
Fitz Henry Lane, attr.
1860
In John J. Babson, History of the Town Gloucester (Gloucester, MA: Procter Brothers, 1860)
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives, Gloucester, Mass.

See p. 474.

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[ top]
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.

manuscript
1856 Expense Account 11.8.1856
Samuel Sawyer
11.8.1856
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
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PDF
view ]
letter
Joseph L. Stevens, Jr. to Samuel Mansfield, 10.17.1903
Joseph L. Stevens, Jr.
1903
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."

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Samuel Elwell Sawyer of Gloucester was a patron of the arts. He visited F. H. Lane’s studio, purchased paintings by him and hired him “to make a sketch of old Homestead for Haughton." (1) Sawyer and Joseph L. Stevens also supported Gloucester artist D. Jerome Elwell in his European studies. We know that in August, 1864, Sawyer ordered two paintings from Lane "to be done [when] he is at leisure," and that he also purchased a painting by Lane for $50 in 1864 at a "Sailors Fare."

Samuel E. Sawyer was born in Gloucester on November 25, 1815 and died at the ancestral homestead in Gloucester on December 15, 1899. He was the fifth generation of Sawyers to occupy Brookbank, an early eighteenth-century gambrel-roofed house located at Freshwater Cove. The Sawyer family history goes back to William Sawyer, who came to New England about 1640.

Samuel's wife was Abigail (Abbie) Ingersoll Meads - they married in Boston on October 30, 1845. They had no children but lived an idyllic life, spending November through March in Boston, and April through October at the family homestead in Gloucester. They spent many years enjoying an accumulated wealth which was generously shared with others. However, life was not always easy for Samuel Sawyer, as he started at the bottom and suffered several financial reversals along the way before becoming financially secure.

Sawyer began his business career as a clerk in Samuel Stevens' dry goods store on Main Street in Gloucester. (2) He soon went to Boston, where he secured a job as a salesman with the firm Kimball and Jewett. He then entered the field of shipping and commerce, and became a partner in the firm of Haughton, Sawyer and Adams. This position took him to all parts of the world, and from it he amassed a fortune as a merchant.

Although a good deal of Sawyer's earlier life was spent in Boston and in travel, nothing could entice him away from the scenes of his childhood. At their Freshwater Cove home, he and Mrs. Sawyer enjoyed their middle age and later years. It was during this period of his life that Samuel Sawyer became one of Gloucester's leading philanthropists. His many gifts and bequests ranged from schoolhouse fences to the present clock in the City Hall tower, and from substantial contributions to the Female Charitable Association to a fund that made it possible to introduce music into the public schools. His most memorable gifts were funds for medals to be given annually to students for scholastic excellence, provision of the building and endowment fund for the Sawyer Free Library, and the land now known as Ravenswood Park.

Mr. Sawyer died from pneumonia at the homestead in Gloucester on December 15, 1889 at the age of seventy-four. Mrs. Sawyer had passed away the preceding year, also from pneumonia.

– Mary Rhinelander McCarl and Stephanie Buck

(1) August 25, 1864 in Samuel Sawyer, Diaries: 1854-1874, trans. Mary Rhinelander McCarl.

(2) Obituary of Joseph L. Stevens, Jr., Gloucester Daily Times, September 21, 1908. Samuel Stevens was Joseph L. Stevens, Jr.’s uncle. When Joseph L. Stevens, Jr. came to Gloucester from Maine in 1840, he first worked in his uncle Samuel’s store.

photo (historical)
American Scenery: New England Series No. 219 Mansion House, Brook Bank
n.d.
Stereographic card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Penciled on reverse: "Mansion House, Brook Bank [sic], Sam'l Sawyer now Hammond, Freshwater Cove"

Also filed under: Brookbank »   //  Historic Photographs »

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map
1834–35 Mason Map: Gloucester Harbor (detail 2)
John Mason
1834–35
24 x 38 in.
Gloucester City Archives

"Drawn on a scale of one hundred feet to an inch. By John Mason 1834–45 from Actual Survey showing every Lott and building then standing on them giving the actual size of the buildings and width of the streets from the Canal to the head of the Harbour & part of Eastern point as farr as Smith's Cove and the Shore of the same with all the wharfs then in use. Gloucester Harbor 1834–35."

This map is especially helpful in showing the wharves of the inner harbor at the foot of Washington Street. 

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publication
Gloucester Lyceum record 2.18.1850
1850
Typescript
Sawyer Free Library, Gloucester, Mass.
Document of the Gloucester Lyceum recording Lane's offer to "furnish a painting which should sell for at least fifty dollars, in furtherance of the project..." to build a new Library in Gloucester. Flyer circulated to "Sons of Gloucester" but no one responded, so apparently Lane never donated painting.
Image: Sawyer Free Library
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PDF
view ]
manuscript
The expense accounts and diaries of Samuel Elwell Sawyer, 1851-1889
Samuel Elwell Sawyer
Transcription and annotations by Mary Rhinelander McCarl
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives

 

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manuscript
1852 Expense Account 11.27.1852
Samuel Sawyer
11.27.1852
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection exp013

"November 27. Engraving. Arch of Triumph (To James 1/53)

Engraving. Pharaoh’s Horses Painting.  Seaview

Traveller & milkmaid. Companions. Hogarth. $2." 

Image: Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
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manuscript
1853 Expense Account 11.12.1853
Samuel Sawyer
11.12.1853
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection exp014

"November 12. Village Festival
Banck. Sunrise 3.25, Sunset 
Backhuysen. Sea view, Power of Fashion, Cattle piece. 3 gilt frames"

Image: Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
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manuscript
1854 Expense Account 6.6.1854
Samuel Sawyer
6.6.1854
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection exp015

"June 6. 2 Dutch coast scenes & frames. Fremart(?) (One Haughton)"

Image: Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
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manuscript
1856 Expense Account 11.8.1856
Samuel Sawyer
11.8.1856
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
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manuscript
1857 Expense Account 6.4.1857
Samuel Sawyer
11.27.1852
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection exp017

"June 4. Interior. Peter Neefs

Landscape. Mireveldt Amsterdam. A. Storck
Flower piece. Unknown
Female head. L. Baker
Flowers, bird’s nest.

Schlesinger Flemish peasants. Unknown"

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publication
1858 Cape Ann Advertiser 2.27.1858
Procter Brothers
Various dates
Newsprint
From bound volume owned by publisher Francis Procter
Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck

"A CARD. – The Ladies of Gloucester who are interested in the Lyceum Library, and who projected the recent Festival in its behalf, take this method of returning their sincere acknowledgements; 

To Messrs. F. H. Lane, Addison Center and John Trask for their arduous and truly artistic labors in the preparation of Tableaux; . . .

To Robert Fears, Esq., who gratuitously opened his large and commodious Sail Loft for their use and exerted himself to make their occupancy of it agreeable;...

To Samuel Sawyer, Esq. of Boston, for his generous and unexpected donation of fifty dollars, thereby laying the Library under still another obligation to him;...

 

Image: Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck
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manuscript
1859 Expense Account 11.12.1859
Samuel Sawyer
11.12.1859
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection exp018

"November 12. Winter scene, Scotch boy

Landscape. Griggs Rising by Frost
Chip off the Old Block, Infant Saviour

St. John Dilemma. Rondel

Departure" 

Image: Samuel Sawyer Papers Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
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manuscript
1860 Expense Account 4.4.1860
Samuel Sawyer
4.4.1860
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection exp020

"Marine View Mt. Desert Light Lane $41.00"

Image: Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
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manuscript
1863 Diary Entry 12.25.1863
Samuel Sawyer
12.25.1863
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection

"After dinner went to the Athanaum[sic]."

Image: Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
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manuscript
1863 Diary Entry 2.4.1863
Samuel Sawyer
2.4.1863
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection

"February 4. Went to the artists reception this evening. There was a large company. Haven (?) Fields Whipple & Co. We enjoyed the occasion very much. Our invitation came from Mr. Scott, Mr. Bartlett & Lottie also went, Mrs. Haughton did not."

Image: Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
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manuscript
1864 Diary Entry 11.17.1864
Samuel Sawyer
11.17.1864
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection

"November 17. Went to Gloucester. Pleasant morning, rainy evening.
Called upon Mr. Lane artist."

Image: Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
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manuscript
1864 Diary Entry 11.23.1864

"November 23. Cool & pleasant. Went to Gloucester.

Size of Haughton's pictures 2. 18 x 30 & 1. 10 x 15. [Lane?]"

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manuscript
1864 Diary Entry 11.4.1864
Samuel Sawyer
11.4.1864
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection A#63

"Got painting. Lane's $50. For Mrs. Cowes. National Sailors Fair."

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manuscript
1864 Diary Entry 12.2.1864
Samuel Sawyer
12.2.1864
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection

"December 2. Went out to call upon J. W. A. Scott East Cambridge artist. He had many sketches. Some of them taken at Gloucester."

Image: Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
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manuscript
1864 Diary Entry 3.17.1864
Samuel Sawyer
3.17.1864
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection

"March 17. Delightful weather.
One of Lane’s Pictures sold at Leonard’s for $55"

Image: Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
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manuscript
1864 Diary Entry 7.11.1864
Samuel Sawyer
7.11.1864
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection

"Rosa Bonheur called" [According to Mary McCarl, this was the name of Sawyer's cow]

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manuscript
1864 Diary Entry 8.15.1864
Samuel Sawyer
8.15.1864
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection

"August 15. Mr. & Mrs. H.(Haughton) staid over, went to sail in the morning & to ride in the afternoon. H. ordered 3 paintings of Mr. Lane for $150, 2 size about 18 x 30, & 1 small."

Image: Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
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manuscript
1864 Diary Entry 8.25.1864
Samuel Sawyer
8.25.1864
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection

"August 25. Called to see Mr. Lane to make a sketch of old Homestead for Haughtons."

Image: Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
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manuscript
1864 Diary Entry 8.8.1864 & 8.9.1864
Samuel Sawyer
8.8.1864
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection

"Monday 8th

Ordered from F. H. Lane 2 Pictures 14 x 21 to be done when he is at leisure. One moonlight $25-$30. . .

Tuesday 9th

Called at Lane's studio"

Image: Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
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manuscript
1864 Diary Entry 9.21.1864
Samuel Sawyer
9.21.1864
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection

"Mr. [F.H. Lane - crossed out] Lane came over to draw the outline for picture for Haughton"

Image: Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
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manuscript
1864 Expense Account 11.5.1864
Samuel Sawyer
11.5.1864
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection A#63

"Lane Picture Mrs. Cowes $50

Frame for same $18"

Image: Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
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manuscript
1865 Diary Entry 10.22.1865
Samuel Sawyer
10.22.1865
Samuel Sawyer Papers
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
Archive Collection

"Met Mr. Tuckerman the artist walking with Jos. Stevens."

Image: Cape Ann Museum Library & Archives
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Provenance (Information known to date; research ongoing.)

Exhibition History

1966 DeCordova Museum: DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts, Fitz Hugh Lane: The First Major Exhibition, no. 46.
1988 National Gallery of Art: National Gallery of Art, Washington, District of Columbia, Paintings by Fitz Hugh Lane, no. 14, ill., p.42, Sawyer Homestead.

Published References

Wilmerding 1966a: Fitz Hugh Lane: The First Major Exhibition, no. 46. ⇒ includes text
Wilmerding 1988a: Paintings by Fitz Hugh Lane, ill. in col. p.42 cat.14, Sawyer Homestead.
Craig 2006a: Fitz H. Lane: An Artist's Voyage through Nineteenth-Century America, pl. 21.

Related historical materials

Gloucester Buildings & Businesses
Cape Ann Locales
Flags, Lighthouses, & Navigation Aids
People
Citation: "Brookbank, The Sawyer Homestead, 1860 (inv. 216)." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum. http://fitzhenrylaneonline.org/catalog/entry.php?id=216 (accessed November 27, 2021).
Record last updated September 29, 2021. Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
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