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Fitz Hugh Lane

Fitz Henry Lane (1804-1865), Stage Rocks and Western Shore of Gloucester Outer Harbor, 1857, oil on canvas, John Wilmerding Collection

Fitz Henry Lane, known as a marine painter, based this painting on drawings he made from the center of his hometown Gloucester's harbor. The western shore was believed to be the place where the French explorer Samuel de Champlain landed early in the seventeenth century. In a letter Lane noted that he had been given "an order for a picture from this point of view, to be treated as a sunset. I shall try to make something out of it, but it will require some management, as there is no foreground but water and vessels." Lane "managed" the painting beautifully, animating the foreground expanse of water with various large and small vessels arranged in a zigzag pattern that is mirrored by the contours of the shore.

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