Did you know? Fitz Henry Lane

E.J. Lefavour writes-

Did you know?

That Fitz Henry Lane (born Nathaniel Rogers Lane, also known as Fitz Hugh Lane) (19 December 1804 – 14 August 1865) was one of the greatest American maritime painters of a style that would later be called Luminism, for its use of pervasive light. Fitz Henry Lane was born on December 19, 1804, in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Lane was christened Nathaniel Rogers Lane on March 17, 1805, and would remain known as such until he was 27. It was not until March 13, 1832 that the state of Massachusetts would officially grant Lane’s formal request (made in a letter dated December 26, 1831) to change his name from Nathaniel Rogers to Fitz Henry Lane. At the age of 2, he contracted polio, which left his legs paralyzed for life. Lane lived in his severe, granite gabled house, built in 1849, until he died in 1865. From the top-floor studio, he often painted the harbor at sunset. The Cape Ann Historical Museum in Gloucester has the world’s largest collection of Lane’s paintings, which you should definitely go see, if you haven’t yet.


E.J. Lefavour-Khan Studio


  • Cape Ann Historical Museum has tons of Fitz Henry Lane and the new wing that opened this month at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts also has a few good ones. Lane shares a gallery with Martin Johnson Heade on the second level of the Art of the Americas wing. There is also one more painting of Lane’s in the first level mixed in with all of the Ship models. Make sure you pull the drawers open underneath the models. That painting Lane depicts New York Harbor full of sailing ships with one steamship sneaking in.


  • interesting that a lot of the local historical information says that he lost function of his legs due to ingesting “may apple” otherwise known a jimson weed, which is a neurotoxic medicinal plant that grows locally. this is the first i have heard of polio.


  • Never heard that one. I have Jimson weed, aka datura stramonium growing in my backyard. Jimson shortened from Jamestown weed. The British soldiers sent to quell Jamestown were offered no food. They ended up eating the weed. One report has them running naked down the street blowing feathers in the air. Carlos Castenada and a few others have ingested the leaves and roots.

    I think his paralysis was all polio and datura had nothing to do with it but it is a good story.


  • we got the story from one of his exhibits at cape ann historical museum 🙂


  • I’ve lost all function in my legs due to a overdose of that great Folly Cove Rum. But, I could never match what Fitz Henry has ever done.


  • SOMETIMES WEED IS GOOD! Fitz Henry just got a bad batch! lol!
    Got to blame it on something.


  • I hope I didn’t spread misinformation about the cause of Fitz Henry Lane’s paralysis. Upon further research, it appears that Jimson Weed poisoning and polio seem to be about equally cited as the cause. http://www.answers.com/topic/lane-fitz-hugh was the original souce of info I used.


    • Don’t worry about it EJ! Starting the conversation about the cause makes people do their own investigation about it. Back then it could’ve been a combination of things. Thanks for the info you have.


      • Hi Paul,
        Thanks. I know that history is “his story”, and what you learn about anything in the past is based on which his or her story you hear and accept as true. BTW, I love your rocks project! Very unique and interactive, and great drawings. EJ


Leaving a comment rewards the author of this post- add to the discussion here-

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s