Fitz Henry Lane (1804-1865)
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Fitz Henry Lane was a native of the small fishing village of Gloucester, Massachusetts. While it would become in the next century home to an artist colony, the town then was dominated by maritime industry. Lane legally changed his name, for reasons unknown, and historians were long been bedeviled on whether his middle name was “Henry” or the “Hugh.” (Gloucester historians have only recently confirmed it is in fact “Henry,” contrary to academic tradition) Having lost the use of his legs at an early age, the young Lane displayed a talent for drawing and moved to Boston for an education in maritime painting, growing to become one of the preeminent marine painters—Lane scholar John Wilmerding notes that he was first among native-born marine painters. [American Marine Painting, p. 113] His early work in Pendleton’s lithography shop strengthened is prodigious limning gifts, and also introduced him to the Robert Salmon, the English-born genius of ship portraiture. This early training allowed Lane to produce his own lithographs—unheard of in his field—and prepared his hand for the exceptional wedding of drawing and painting that characterizes his work, and made it tremendously popular.