Preview: Fitz Henry Lane by Bill Mayher and Maynard Bray

March 16, 2017

Avatar Bill Mayher

Fitz Henry Lane, the remarkable 19th Century painter of the New England Coast, has long been a favorite of mariners, not only for his trademark luminist style, but also for his precise renderings of the nautical scenes around Gloucester, Boston and the Maine coasts that he was so familiar with.

We are bringing Lane to your attention at this moment because of a remarkable recent development. The Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester has created an interactive Catalogue Raisonné, which will allow you to study digital images of over 300 of Lane’s works, zooming in with your computer to examine details of the paintings. This feature, in combination with the written commentary of the museum’s Maritime Curator, Erik Ronnberg, makes the Catalogue Raisonné an invaluable resource for both professional researchers and those of us simply interested in enjoying Lane’s work at a deeper level.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we would like to salute the Cape Ann Museum’s generosity in putting the Catalogue up for everyone to use, free of charge. Thanks to the project’s editor, Sam Holdsworth, one of OCH’s earliest and most enthusiastic backers, Fitz Henry Lane’s genius comes alive for all of us in wholly new ways.

We have chosen a few expanded-by-zooming examples of Lane’s depiction of small boats in several paintings. We hope you will follow our lead, travel back in time with one of our favorite artists, and then continue to explore the catalogue further on your own.

How To Use:

Enter the site, and click on “The Catalog“.

Choose a painting of interest from “The Catalog of Paintings, Drawings, and Lithographs“.

Click on the painting – here is an example.

Once the painting pops out (it may take a few moments for the painting to load on their website), you can magnify by moving your cursor over the image, and move your mouse wheel or trackpad to zoom in and out.

These actions cause immediate reactions, so it will likely take you a few attempts to zoom into the exact spot you would like.

The site has also just added in a brand new comparison tool. This can be used, for example, in side-by-side comparisons of paintings with infrared images and up to four images can be compared simultaneously.


We have picked out six paintings to demonstrate the detail and example of what can be found in the catalog with Maynard’s description of the expanded image.

Fitz Henry Lane painting - a full view of Gloucester Harbor from Rocky Neck

1. Gloucester Harbor from Rocky Neck, 1844, owned by Cape Ann Historical.

Fitz Henry Lane painting - a closeup of Gloucester Harbor from Rocky Neck

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