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Historical Materials: Fitz Henry Lane Biography

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Essay to come.

1837 plan of the City of Boston
Charles Stimpson
9 x 14 in.
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Showing Lane's neighborhood while working in Boston. Lane had studios at the intersection of Washington and State Streets, Summer, Tremont and School Streets.

1857 Gloucester Advertiser, 9.15.1857, "Business Directory"
Courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass.

See p. 1, columns 1 and 2.

"Artists. / Fitz H. Lane, residence on Duncan street. / Addison Center, residence on Washington street. / Alfred J. Wiggin, Annisquam."

1859 Gloucester Telegraph 3.18.1859

F.H. Lane & A. Wiggin only people listed under "artists" in the Gloucester Telegraph Business Directory. Ignatius Winter listed under Carpenters, at Burnham Bros.

1861 Gloucester Telegraph 8.3.1861
Gloucester Telegraph

The welcome-home parade for Company G, 8th Regiment. Mechanic Fire Company No. 1. The company carried a new banner presented them by Fitz H. Lane and F.H. Winter. A most appropriate design was painted upon it by the artist giver. Two figures were represented, a soldier and a fireman, with clasped hands: on the left a group of tents and on the right a fire scene. The banner was handsomely trimmed with oak leaves and inscribed as follows: "Organized Jan. 7, 1854"–"Union is Strength."

1862 Cape Ann Advertiser 1.3.1862
Newspaper clipping
Cape Ann Advertiser
Collection of Fred and Stephanie Buck

2nd reference to banner for Mechanic Engine Corp. New Year's ball:

"At the rear end of the hall, above the musician's stand, was a fine portrait of Washington, back of which were suspended hose pipes, crossed, with the silver trumpet underneath; beneath this was the banner, painted by F. H. Lane, the whole forming a design of great beauty."

1865 Boston Daily Evening Transcript 8.19.1865
American Antiquarian Society

"The death of this gifted artist may almost be considered a national loss, at least so far as art is concerned. Mr. Lane was undoubtedly the finest marine artist in this country. We have never seen any paintings equal to his in perfect accuracy in all aspects of marine architecture and thought, and true natural position to the canvas and complete equipment of vessels."

History of the Town of Gloucester, Cape Ann, Including the Town of Rockport
John J. Babson
Procter Brothers of Gloucester, Massachusetts

John James Babson wrote History of the Town of Gloucester, Cape Ann in 1860. This is the source of much information about Lane, including the history of the family and the source of Lane's partial paralysis as being the seeds of the apple-peru. (Nicandra physalodes, a member of the nightshade family of plants).

As Dunlap and Buck note (1) , Babson knew Lane, and thanked him for furnishing “with characteristic kindness, sketches for the engravings in this work.” (2). That sentence implies that Lane made sketches for all of the illustrations, but that they were engraved by someone else. “SMITH” seemed to have actually engraved several of these, as his name appears on the prints. Lane’s name is not evident. 

The illustrations most likely to have been Lane’s are Mr. White’s house near Meetinghouse Green (page 230), Second Parish Meeting House, West Gloucester, taken down in 1846 (page 266), the house of William Card on Front Street (page 452), and First Parish Meeting House, 1738-1826 (page 498). There were also black-and-white reproductions of several Lane paintings.

(1) Sarah Dunlap and Stephanie Buck, Fitz Henry Lane: Family and Friends. (Gloucester, MAChurch & Mason Publishing; in association with the Cape Ann Historical Museum2007),120-121.

(2) John James Babson, History of the Town of Gloucester Cape Ann, Including the Town of Rockport. (Gloucester, MA: Procter Brothers, 1860), 258. 

(3) Dunlap and Buck, 504n. 

Also filed under: Babson, John J. »

Sixty Years' Memories of Art and Artists
Benjamin Champney
Woburn, MA,

"After a time I left the shoe store, and through the influence of my friend Cooke, was admitted as an apprentice to Moore, successor to Pendleton, in the lithographic business. Here I was speedily worked in as a draughtsman for ordinary commercial work, the fine work, such as designs of figures and heads from life being done by Cooke. F.H. Lane, afterwards well-known as a marine painter, did most of the views, hotels, etc. He was very accurate in his drawing, understood perspective and naval architecture perfectly, as well as the handling of vessels, and was a good, all-round draughtsman." (1)

(1) John WilmerdingFitz Henry Lane (Gloucester, MACape Ann Historical Association2005)Reprint of Fitz Hugh Lane, by John Wilmerding. New York: Praeger, 1971.

The Voyage of the "Jamestown" on her Errand of Mercy
Robert Bennet Forbes
Eastburn's Press

Link to Google Books.

Citation: "Fitz Henry Lane Biography." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum.§ion=Professional (accessed July 23, 2024).
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