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Fitz Henry Lane Chronology

Historical documents related to Lane's life can be found on the Historical Materials page. More information on the paintings and prints exhibited by Lane can be found on the Exhibitions page.


  • December 19 - Nathaniel Rogers Lane is born at 85 Middle Street in Gloucester, Massachusetts, to Jonathan Dennison Lane and Sarah (Sally) Ring Haskell. He has one elder brother, Edward, two years older. He later has two younger sisters. Sarah Ann (1806–1808) and Sarah Ann, born 1809. For more, see Lane's family tree.


Harbour East Ward Valuations, 1820, Gloucester City Archives.
"Supports a lame child, ought not to be

taxed." Harbour East Ward Valuations, 1820. Courtesy of Gloucester Archives.



  • According to some sources, Lane (then a toddler) loses partial use of his legs.


  • September 8–9 and September 19 - Gloucester is attacked during the War of 1812.


  • August 25 - Lane's father, Jonthan Dennison Lane, dies.


  • July - The first lithograph is created and published in the United States.(2)


  • The tax record states that Sarah Lane, Nathaniel Rogers Lane's mother, "supports a lame child" and "ought not to be taxed."


  • May 26 - The ship "Boston" is struck by lightning and burned, inspiring the first Lane painting Burning of the Packet Ship "Boston", 1830 (inv. 82).
  • September 18 - A newspaper reports that Gloucester has suffered a major fire on Main Street, causing many townspeople to take the precaution of moving furniture out of their houses.
  • Lane is described as a "shoomaker," possibly for Clegg and Dodge. (3)
  • The Gloucester Lyceum is formed.


  • December 26 - Lane writes to the Massachusetts State Congress and State Senate to petition for a name change (4)


  • March 13 - Fitz Henry Lane's name-change petition is granted by the government. (5)
  • Some time during this year, Lane moves to Boston and becomes apprenticed to William S. Pendleton as a lithographer. (6) While at Pendleton's, Lane produces a variety of work, including sheet music covers, panoramas, signs, advertisements, and more. At Pendleton's during this same year, Lane completes his first known lithograph, [The Prisoner of Chillon], 1832 (inv. 461).


  • Lane's sister Sarah marries Ignatius Winter.




  • Lane leaves Pendleton's to join Keith & Moore's lithographic firm.


  • Lane's family in Gloucester leaves his childhood home on Middle Street and moves to the Whittemore House at 179 Washington Street.


  • Ignatius and Sarah Winter move to Boston. (Dunlap and Buck speculate that Lane may have moved in with them after their arrival).(7)
  • During the presidential campaign of this year, Lane is active in the Whig Party, whose candidate is William Henry Harrison.  Lane paints a large political banner for the Whig campaign in Gloucester.(8)


  • April - The "Britannia" crosses the Atlantic; its passengers include Charles Dickens and his wife, Kate. Dickens later chronicles this trip in his American Notes. The tumultuous crossing later becomes the subject of the two earliest paintings from Lane's professional career in Boston, Cunard Liner "Britannia", 1842 (inv. 259) and Cunard Liner "Britannia", 1842 (inv. 298). The earlier of the two paintings is made expressly for Captain Cleland.
  • July - Lane is listed for the first time in Stimpson's Boston Almanac as a marine painter. He is listed at two locations: 7 Summer Street and 17 School Street. He manufactures a business card stating his profession: Business Card Printing Plate, c.1841 (inv. 579).
  • Boston Artists' Association is formed - Lane's signature appears in a manuscript copy of the BAA's constitution.
  • Lane has paintings in four different exhibitions in Boston.

    Business Card Printing Plate, c.1841 (inv. 579)
    ngraved copper, 2 1/2 x 4 in. 
    Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., 
    Gift of Samuel H. Mansfield, 1949 (1336.9)


  • Lane has three different paintings in a Boston Art Association exhibition.


  • Lane has a studio in Tremont Temple, where he is later joined by business partner John W. Scott.
  • Lane again exhibits in a Boston Art Association exhibition.


  • Lane has two address listings in Boston in this year: Tremont Temple and 28 Joy's Building, located on Washington Street.
  • At a Boston Mechanics' Association Exhibition, Lane's painting wins first in its class and an overall silver medal. 


  • William Roland Grenville Mellen (Charles Mellen's brother) comes to pastor the Second Society of Universalists in Cambridge. (Scholars say it is "not outside the bounds of possibility" that Fitz Henry Lane and Mary Blood Mellen  meet at this time, though it is unlikely that they were to work together steadily until the mid-1850s).(9)
  • Lane exhibits two paintings at the Boston Athenaeum.



  • December - Eastern Railroad begins running trains to the newly built Gloucester station, facilitating easier travel between Boston, New York, and the coastal town.(10)
  • Lane shows work in multiple exhibitions, including two in New York.


  • Fitz Henry Lane moves back to Gloucester (though he retains his studio at the Tremont Temple until 1850), initially staying with his family in the Whittemore House at 179 Washington Avenue. Newspapers remark about his growing popularity.
  • Lane may visit Maine (some scholars cite as evidence an early painting of Maine, Twilight on the Kennebec, 1849 (inv. 258)).(11)
  • Three paintings are exhibited, two in New York and one in Boston.


  • Lane's studio and residence are established on Elm Street. At this time, he also purchases land on Duncan's Point, where he will later build his studio and residence, Stone House.
  • Lane is listed as a director of the Gloucester Lyceum.
  • July - Lane paints a banner for the town's July 4th celebration.
  • November 29 - Lane is in charge of the floral displays at the Gloucester Post Office.(12)
  • Lane exhibits four paintings in the American Art Union exhibition in New York.


  • February 6 - Lane loans some paintings to "increase the interest of the occasion" of a town fair, perhaps commemorating the anniversary of Massachusetts joining the Union.(13)
  • Summer - Lane makes his first documented trip to Castine, Penobscot Bay, and
    Mount Desert, Maine, with Joseph Stevens, Jr. According to the inscription
    on Somes Sound, Looking Southerly, 1850 (inv. 178), "Lane made this sketch sitting in the stern of the boat General
    Gates as we slowly sailed up the sound at Mt. Desert on a lovely afternoon of
    our first excursion there. He painted a small picture from this his first sketch of
    that evening. It was sold by Balch to Mrs. Josiah Quincy Jr. and to Mackay."
  • Lane proposes to furnish a painting as a means of fundraising for the
    Gloucester Lyceum's Library Project; no one purchases it.
  • Lane exhibits in Albany, New York City, and Boston. 

Lane's house at Duncan's Point.

Cape Ann Museum 


  • Lane's house on Duncan's Point is completed, and he moves in with Sarah and Ignatius Winter and their seven children.
  • Summer - Lane receives an invitation to visit Maine in a letter from Dorothy L. Stevens (Mrs. Joseph Stevens, Sr.) of Castine. He completes several sketches of Blue Hill, Owl's Head, Penobscot Bay, and Mount Desert, though it is not known whether or not he accepts the invitation.
  • Lane is again named Director of the Gloucester Lyceum.
  • Lane exhibits two paintings in Boston.


  • August 16-21 - According to William Witherle's diary, Lane, Witherle, Samuel Adams, Rev. William Phillips Tilden, and Joseph Stevens Jr. hire the sloop "Superior" to visit Mount Desert Island. They also visit Isle Au Haut, Blue Hill, Somes Sound, and Southwest Harbor in Penobscot Bay, where Lane completes many sketches.(14)
  • Sidney Mason commissions Lane to paint Gloucester Harbor, 1852 (inv. 38), featuring Mason's Pavilion Hotel.
  • Lane is again named Director of the Gloucester Lyceum.
  • Lane exhibits at the American Art Union in New York City.


  • Dorothy L. Stevens (Mrs. Joseph Stevens, Sr.) writes to Lane, expecting him to visit again that summer. In that same letter, she thanks him for his painting of her daughter's house, the "Little Brown Cottage."
  • Reverend William Mountford at the Unitarian Church leaves for Boston to pursue Transcendentalism and Spiritualism (he will return years later to officiate at Lane's funeral).
  • July 4 - Lane is in charge of many of the Independence Day decorations, including the floral procession, tents, and fireworks.(15)


  • The Gloucester Lyceum's long-awaited library is formed, thanks in large part to the stimulus of Gloucester native Samuel Sawyer (then a resident of Boston).


  • September - The Boston Courier remarks that Lane visits "here almost every summer."
  • September - Lane goes to Maine with Joseph S. Hooper. They meet in Rockland and have a two-day sail around Owl's Head and Camden, and take a trip to Mount Desert. Lane also makes sketches of Bear Island, the Graves, Negro Island, Somes Sound, and Hospital Island.(16)
  • October 5 - A call goes out for subscribers to Lane's subscription lithograph, Castine, from Hospital Island, 1855 (inv. 448).
  • Lane exhibits one painting at the Boston Athenaeum.


  • Lane donates a picture to Ladies Fair, according to a thank you "card" in the newspaper.
  • Lane is commissioned by John Trask to paint a sign for his shop at the Burnham Brothers Marine Railways.
  • Joseph L. Stevens, Sr., invites Lane to come to Castine, according to a letter to Joseph L. Stevens Jr.
  • The Gloucester Telegraph remarks about Boston Harbor, 1856 (inv. 203).
  • Lane exhibits in Gloucester, Baltimore, and Castine, Maine.



  • January 2 - The local newspaper visits Lane's studio.
  • January 30 - Again, Lane is noted in the Gloucester news, this time for his flowers.
  • February 27 - Lane creates a tableaux for the library festival with John Trask and Addison Center.
  • August 28 - The painting, after which View of Gloucester, 1859 (inv. 446) would be lithographed, is exhibited at Procter Brothers bookstore, opening the subscription.
  • Lane is again named a Gloucester Lyceum Director.
  • Lane exhibits one painting at the Boston Athenaeum.


  • January 28 - According to the Procter's Able Sheet, Lane's View of Gloucester, 1859 (inv. 446) lithograph is on sale for $2.25. Subscribers are offered the option of paying an additional fifty cents in order to be included in a raffle for one of Lane's oil painting. The subscription book is closed at the end of March.
  • H. Hitchings loans "Gloucester Fishing Schooner on George's Bank" to the 1859 National Academy of Design exhibition in New York.
  • August - With Mary Blood Mellen, Lane visits the Blood family residence in Sterling, Massachusetts.
  • Lane participates in six exhibitions, three of which are in Boston, one in Gloucester, one in Portland, Maine, and one in New York City.


  • May 11 - The New York Times issues a legal notice of Common Pleas in New York- "FH Lane Esq to take proofs."
  • June 30 - Lane's View of Gloucester, 1856 (inv. 681) painting is hung at the Gloucester Bank (Lane later donates it to the town in his will).
  • John James Babson writes History of the Town of Gloucester, Cape Ann, the source of much of the biographical information on Lane.
  • Lane shows paintings in Boston and in Gloucester.


  • April 12 - The Civil War begins.
  • June 28 - Lane is noted in the Gloucester newspaper, this time for his magnolia trees.
  • August 2 - The Cape Ann Advertiser describes a banner that Lane has created for the Mechanic Fire Company #1.
  • Numerous paintings by Lane are listed in the Cape Ann Advertiser as being for sale.


  • April - Lane distributes paintings to his subscribers.
  • Late spring, early summer - Lane sells his property on Duncan Point to J.L. Stevens, Jr. The Winters family is evicted as a result.(17)
  • July - During the Duncan Point altercation, Lane temporarily moves in with Herman and Sarah Davidson at the corner of Middle Street and Dale Avenue. He will stay there through much of the fall.
  • December 12 - Joseph L. Stevens (according to his diary) goes to Rockport with Lane.
  • December - Ignatius Winter sues Joseph L. Stevens for personal injury in being evicted from his home.
  • Lane writes a letter on his Dream Painting, 1862 (inv. 74) and affixes it to the verso side of the canvas.
  • Lane sketches and paints Col. Fremont (who has recently been relieved of his Union Command) while he and his wife are encamped at the Loaf: Fremont's Encampment at the Loaf, West Gloucester, 1862 (inv. 154). Fremont's presence has attracted a fair amount of notice from the town.
  • August 27 - September 1 - According to J.L. Steven's, Sr.'s diary, Lane makes his last documented visit to Maine, during which he sketches Portland Harbor. 
  • December 23 - According to the Gloucester Telegraph, Lane donates Fremont's Encampment at the Loaf, West Gloucester, 1862 (inv. 154) to the raffle for the Cape Ann Sanitary Fair, held at Sidney Mason's Pavilion Hotel.
  • Lane exhibits at Procter Brothers in Gloucester.
  • Lane sues Eli F. Stacy for a security in a mortgage; Lane wins the suit.
  • September 21 - A local newspaper account of Lane's studio discusses the orders "which have poured in from all quarters."
  • There is a major downtown fire in Gloucester, destroying 90% of the Gloucester Lyceum Library's collection.
  • Lane participates in six exhibitions, four of which are in Boston, one in Albany, and one in Brooklyn.
  • Late Winter - Lane's health begins to fail. 
  • June - The court finds J.L. Stevens innocent in Winters' suit against him.
  • Lane exhibits twice at the Boston Athenaeum.
  • August 13 - Lane dies of bladder cancer. He is buried at Oak Grove Cemetery in a plot owned by J.L. Stevens. He leaves various things to townspeople in his will.

 –Compiled by Meredith Massar Munson.


1. Sarah Dunlap and Stephanie Buck, "Fitz Who? The Artist Latterly Known as Fitz Hugh Lane," The Essex Genealogist 25 (February 2005): 11.

2. The first lithograph was by Bass Otis, and appeared in "Lithographie," The Analectic Magazine 14 (July 1819): 66–72, as discussed in Sally Pierce and Catharina Slautterback, Boston Lithography 1825–1880 (Boston: The Boston Athenaeum, 1991).

3. Sarah Dunlap and Stephanie Buck, Fitz Henry Lane: Family and Friends(Gloucester, MA: Church & Mason Publishing; in association with the Cape Ann Historical Museum), 2007.

4. Dunlap and Buck, "Fitz Who?," 12.

5. Ibid.

6. John Wilmerding, "The Identities of Mr. Nathaniel Rogers," Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors 97 (Winter 2008): 53.

7. Dunlap and Buck, Fitz Henry Lane: Family and Friends, 91–93.

8. Frederic Alan Sharf, "Fitz Hugh Lane Re-Considered," Essex Institute Historical Collections (January 1960): 78.

9. Dunlap and Buck, Fitz Henry Lane: Family and Friends, 91–93.

10. Ronald Dale Karr, The Rail Lines of Southern New England (Pepperell, MA: Branch Line Press, 1995), 264–65.

11. John Wilmerding, "The Lure of Mount Desert and the Maine Coast." In Paintings by Fitz Hugh Lane, by John Wilmerding (Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art; in association with Harry N. Abrams, 1988), 107.

12. Dunlap and Buck, Fitz Henry Lane: Family and Friends, 55.

13. Gloucester Telegraph, February 6, 1850.

14. Wilmerding, "The Lure of Mount Desert and the Maine Coast," 122.

15. Dunlap and Buck, Fitz Henry Lane: Family and Friends, 91–93.

16. Frederic Alan Sharf, "Fitz Hugh Lane: Visits to the Maine Coast, 1848–55," Essex Institute Historical Collections 98 (April 1962): 118.

17. Dunlap and Buck, Fitz Henry Lane: Family and Friends, 66–68.

Citation: "Fitz Henry Lane Chronology." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum. (accessed May 19, 2024).
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