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Discoveries: Fitz Henry Lane

James A. Craig

A curator and lecturer specializing in 19th-century American marine art, author James A. Craig first became enamored with New England's maritime saga while studying Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts. He resides in the fishing port of Gloucester, Mass., with his wife Katie.

In 2006, the American art world was stunned to discover that it had been calling one of its most beloved artists by the wrong name. New research revealed that Fitz Hugh Lane (when alive) had actually been named Fitz Henry Lane. What other new revelations await?

Blog entries from Discoveries: Fitz Henry Lane

Robert Cook, Lane at age 31, 1835, American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts

Fitz Henry Lane’s Personal Life

Posted: July 28, 2011 20:14

Given the enormous interest Fitz Henry (formerly Hugh) Lane’s artwork has generated over the years, it is perhaps only natural that little attention has been paid by scholars on Lane’s personal life. Further complicating matters is the fact that Lane left few artifacts beyond his artwork by which his daily life could be understood and “fleshed out.” With only a handful of private letters, newspaper clippings and reminiscences with which to guide us, an image of Lane has formed over time, one of a man who was dour, taciturn and lonesome. Contemporary quotes describing him as “nervous,...

Fitz Henry Lane, The Yacht “America” Winning the International Race, 1851.  Collection of Peabody Essex Museum.

Fitz Henry Lane as art teacher to William Bradford

Posted: August 04, 2010 17:39

Ever since scholars began to pry into the life of the 19th century American marine painter Fitz Henry (formerly Hugh) Lane, they have been aware of Lane’s role as an art instructor to a Mrs. Mary Mellen, a personal friend of Lane’s and the unfortunate possessor of limited artistic skills.  So narrow has the academic focus been upon Mary Mellen that over time a belief has arisen declaring her to have been Lane’s only student.  Yet in-depth analysis of significant paintings combined with new testimony penned by a Mr. John Trask, Fitz Henry Lane’s next door neighbor, close...

Fitz Henry Lane, Sicilian Vespers, 1832, lithograph.

New Fitz Henry Lane artwork: the lithograph Sicilian Vespers

Posted: July 28, 2010 21:20

Fitz Henry (formerly "Hugh") Lane’s career as an artist officially began in the year 1832, when at the age of 27, he was hired by Pendleton’s Lithography firm in Boston to serve as an apprentice. As the earliest known lithographic creation by Lane had been his "View of the Old Building at the Corner of Ann Street," 1835, it was long supposed that it had taken Lane roughly three years of instruction at Pendleton’s to master the medium of lithography.  Yet, new findings from the archives of the Boston Athenaeum now reveal that Lane pretty much hit the ground running when he came...

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