Oil on Canvas titled "Ship taking on a Pilot in Boston Harbor" by Fitz Henry Lane circa 1850. The ship just left of center is "Hove To' waiting to take on a pilot which is to her left with shortened sail in a brisk breeze. The ship is sitting at an angle flying an American flag with a red pennant at the top of her main mast. The two masted schooner pilot boat is heading towards the ship to guide it into Boston harbor. There is a figure near the fore mast wearing a red shirt which a Lane hallmark. The highlighted water around the ship is very dramatic and the light and the sea continues to the Boston harbor beyond. Along the horizon one can recognize the MA state House on Beacon Hill and various church steeples. There are various forms of watercraft in the distance close to shore. The sky has a cloud bank along the shore and a brilliant blue sky with puffy white clouds above.
Note: This painting is included in the Cape Ann Museum’s FH Lane catalogue raisonne as item #307. The Commentary states “ This is a somewhat unusual ship painting for Lane as it’s quite small, 18"x11”, yet it has all the vigorous sea and air of a brisk blow in Boston Harbor. The distinctive silhouette of the Massachusetts Statehouse on Beacon Hill is centered on the horizon. The ship is a clipper, fairly typical though without the skysails of the largest and fastest clippers which could load on sail trying to cut days off their ocean crossing passages. The painting does not seem to be a commission for an owner or master as there is no name on the ship or pennant. In the foreground is a pilot boat but without an identifying number on the mainsail or signal pennant. Likely painted in the late 1840s or early 1850s, it’s a fresh and convincing view of a great ship under sail in Boston Harbor.
There is a paintings by Lane showing a similar subject with similar color and light. The painting is signed and dated FH Lane 1852. It is numbered #345 in the Cape Ann On Line Catalogue Raisonne. It is titled “New York Harbor 1852” and is located at the National Gallery in Washington DC.
A second signed FH Lane painting is located in a private collection and is titled “Ship Spitfire taking on a Pilot in Boston Harbor”. It shows a pilot boat with the Boston pilot flag on the opposite side of the canvas but with the same rig and sail configuration as the Boston Harbor painting described above.
Reference: "Fitz Hugh Lane" by John Wilmerding", Published by Praeger Pulishers New York, 1971 Plate #64 Titled, "Boston Harbor 1853".. This painting is painted from a similar vantage point showing the State House and many ot the other Boston Harbor landmarks as seen in the painting described above. The lighting is also very similar.
Condition: The painting is in excellent condition and has a condition report written by Tom Yost of Yost Restoration.
Dimensions of Painting: Height 11 1/8, Width 18 1/8, Inches
Dimensions of Frame: Height 16 1/2, Width 24, Inches