``The farther Lane gets out to sea the more at home he seems to be…. His ships in a squall, his sketches of Cape Ann sea-side scenery, and all his salt water and boating scenes are unequalled in their fidelity to the ocean’s varying aspects.``
– 1850 review from the Boston Transcript
Fitz Henry Lane (1804-1865) designed this house in 1847 after a successful lithography career in Boston. His studio was on the top floor, high enough for sweeping panorama and optimum observation for his world famous Gloucester veduta painting. The studio was open to the public and local media covered his completion progress and updates on individual works much as newspapers of the day presented installments of serialized novels. Lane was active in the community, such as serving as Director of the Lyceum, and his work generated enthusiastic praise at home and far. This ardent attention was one catalyst for successive waves of artists– and art aficionados– making pilgrimage or relocation to Cape Ann.
The house, now owned by the city, was saved from destruction during the 1960s when the rest of neighborhood was cleared under urban renewal. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. Currently it serves as office space for the City’s youth sailing program and offices for the Schooner Adventure. You can visit the home and area, visit the Essex National Heritage site for more info.
Cape Ann Museum’s groundbreaking online ‘Catalogue Raisonne’ devoted to Fitz Henry Lane opened February 2016. This online resource is comprised of several components including: a catalog of Lane’s paintings, drawings and lithographs; an extensive database of historical information, images and materials related to the subjects within Lane’s pictures; new scholarly essays; and a bibliography and archive of publications.
The rich historical material is connected to the relevant paintings through easily clickable links. The 319 works currently on the site include all known Lane pictures in public collections. The Cape Ann Museum hopes that this website will function as a central repository for information about Lane and a key resource for anyone (student, scholar, or museum visitor) interested in nineteenth-century American art or history.