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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.


Lecture at Cape Ann Museum — Painting the Inhabited Landscape: Fitz H. Lane and the Global Reach of Antebellum America

Book cover for Margaretta Markle Lovell's book Painting the Inhabited Landscape

THURSDAY, JUNE 29, 2023 at 2:00 p.m.
CAMTalks: Exhibition Series—Painting the Inhabited Landscape: Fitz H. Lane and the Global Reach of Antebellum America
with Dr. Margaretta Lovell, Jay D. McEvoy, Jr., Professor of American Art History at the University of California, Berkeley

Calling attention to unexplored dimensions of nineteenth-century painting, Painting the Inhabited Landscape is a major intervention in the scholarship on American art of the period and an enlightening examination of Fitz H. Lane’s work.

In this important study, Margaretta Markle Lovell singles out the modestly scaled, explicitly inhabited landscapes of Fitz H. Lane and investigates the patrons who supported his career, with an eye to understanding how New Englanders thought about their land, their economy, their history, and their links with widely disparate global communities. Lane’s works depict nature as productive and allied in partnership with humans to create a sustainable, balanced political economy. What emerges from this close look at Lane’s New England is a picture not of a “virgin wilderness” but of a land deeply resonant with its former uses—and a human history that incorporates, rather than excludes, Native Americans as shapers of land and as agents in that history.

Margaretta M. Lovell is a cultural historian working at the intersection of history, art history, and material culture studies. Currently the Jay D. McEvoy, Jr., Professor of American Art History at the University of California, Berkeley, she received her PhD in American Studies at Yale. Her most recent book, Painting the Inhabited Landscape: Fitz H. Lane and the Global Reach of Antebellum America (Penn State Press, April 2023), concerns F. H. Lane, Cape Ann’s landscape painter who, in the first half of the nineteenth century, captured his culture’s relationship to fish, granite, and forests on one hand and its links to China, Puerto Rico, and Surinam on the other.

Registration required for all attendees. Learn more at the Cape Ann Museum website.

Mary Blood Mellen Exhibition at Cape Ann Museum

 Mary Blood Mellen (1819-1886), Field Beach, Stage Fort Park, c. 1850s
Mary Blood Mellen (1819-1886), Field Beach, Stage Fort Park, c. 1850s, Oil on canvas. Collection of the Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, MA. Gift of Mrs. Preston Dise, 1964 [#1964].

Although often thought of in terms of her mentor, Fitz Henry Lane, Mary Blood Mellen (1819-1886) was a talented and accomplished artist in her own right who commands a place in the history of art on Cape Ann. To better understand Mellen and her artistic skills, the Cape Ann Museum is pleased to offer this special exhibition of her work, on view in the center of the Lane Gallery during Jan. 13, 2023 – April 2, 2023.

The details regarding Mary Blood Mellen’s life are well documented. Born in 1819, she grew up in central Massachusetts and in 1840, married Rev. Charles W. Mellen, a Universalist minister. Fifteen years later, Charles Mellen’s brother, who was also a minister, was called to serve at Gloucester’s First Universalist Church. It was probably because of that posting that Mary Blood Mellen visited Gloucester and established a friendship with Fitz Henry Lane. Information gleaned from a variety of sources tells us that Mellen quickly became Lane’s student and collaborator; indeed, Lane gave her access to his preliminary drawings and allowed her to assist him on at least one of his canvases. Stylistic examination of numerous Lane paintings in the Cape Ann Museum’s collection suggests that she may have had a hand in many of them.

As additional works by Mellen come to light, it is possible that more will be learned about her artistic career. It is equally possible, however, that we may never know the details of Lane and Mellen’s relationship and their artistic collaboration.

Learn more in an exhibition catalogue found here.

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Explore works in the Catalog using the Interactive Feature

Ten Pound Island, Gloucester, 1850s (inv. 17)

Collection: Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Gift of Bessie Stanwood, 1948 (1238)
A Calm Sea, c.1860 (inv. 6)

Collection: Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., 1932 (642.13b)
Gloucester Harbor, 1859 (inv. 33)

Collection: Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Gift of Edwin Barbey, 1981 (2229.00)
Fresh Water Cove from Dolliver's Neck, Gloucester, Early 1850s (inv. 45)

Collection: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Bequest of Martha C. Karolik for the M. and M. Karolik Collection of American Paintings, 1815–1865 (48.445)
Babson and Ellery Houses, Gloucester, 1863 (inv. 10)

Collection: Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Gift of Roger W. Babson, 1937 (779.02)
Gloucester Harbor from Rocky Neck, 1844 (inv. 14)

Collection: Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Gift of Mrs. Jane Parker Stacy (Mrs. George O. Stacy), 1948 (1289.1a)
Stage Rocks and Western Shore of Gloucester Outer Harbor, 1857 (inv. 348)

Collection: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., John Wilmerding Collection, Promised Gift
Three Master on the Gloucester Railways, 1857 (inv. 29)

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

» 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

The first Ten Pound Island Lighthouse
First Order Fresnel Lens for Thacher Island lighthouse beacon
Architectural plans for Pavilion Hotel, front elevation

Historical Materials:
Pavilion Hotel »

Noah Brooks' Library

Historical Materials:
Brooks, Noah » 
Historic Photographs »

1851 Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport (detail showing wharves)

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. (accessed May 19, 2024).
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