Statues & Plaques of Gloucester From Peter Dorsey-Fitz Henry Lane


This is one of the statues that inspired my series of the last few weeks in Good Morning Gloucester. It was after I noticed this statue of Fitz Henry (Hugh) Lane and the Joan of Arc statue, that I started looking around Gloucester for more and more statues and plaques. It has been a fun and interesting search for me. The legacy of Fitz Henry Lane (1804-1865) and his wonderful paintings is such an important part of the artistic heritage of Gloucester. Just go to the Cape Ann Museum, and look at their enormous collection of these detailed, soothing seascapes. These paintings are world famous glimpses into life on and about Gloucester’s harbor and shores.

One of the things I learned about Fitz Henry Lane was that he was crippled as a child by ingesting some kind of a plant. And it was because he was unable to run around like other children his age that he became fascinated with drawing and sketching; and the thing that was nearby was Gloucester harbor, and its shipping activities. And because he had all this time to sit quietly sketching, he was able to see the play of light evolving at different times of the day; and fortunately for us, he became fascinated with the interplay of darkness and light. He was one of the school of luminous artists. Because his only formal training was with a lithograph and printing studio in Boston; he also showed the fine intricate details of many of the things that he painted. He took the painted equivalent of snapshots for us of nautical things that might not have been preserved from the workings of the Gloucester and other harbors of this day. His house where he lived as an adult, and created many of his paintings and drawings was in the center of what is now Harbor Loop. If you look at old photographs of the early 1900’s this, the western edge of Gloucester Harbor was packed with houses, warehouses and docks. All but this one granite constructed residence remains, and it was from this elevated perch that Fitz Henry Lane looked out often to the harbor. This life-like copper statue of him that is here was “Sculpted by Alfred M. Duca in 1997 “, and carved into the granite base it says, “step into my shoes and become inspired”, and next to that are a pair of copper or bronze sandals that are welded to the rock.

“I am have been a residential real estate broker for 26 years. Also, I am a novice rower down on Harbor Loop at the Gloucester Rowing Club at Maritime Gloucester. I have roots in this city that go back to 1919 when my father was born here. My grandfather worked as a scientist for John Hays Hammond at the time. Every year, as I do business in this city, and travel around Cape Ann, I find more and more interesting things that I see for the first time. I like to share some of these special places here on Good Morning Gloucester with my camera.”

Peter Dorsey

2 thoughts on “Statues & Plaques of Gloucester From Peter Dorsey-Fitz Henry Lane

  1. I so enjoy Peter Dorsey’s “series.” While I have no historical connection to Gloucester, my interest in scuba diving brought me to an area 7 years ago and I borrowed books from the library to learn the local history. On cold winter weekends I would scout the area for those “part of the woodwork” features that give the town its special character. I especially enjoy the old plaques in Stage Fort Park and along the waterfront, some practically unreadable.
    Keep up your good work, Peter! I look forward to tracking down your finds.


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