Item #7082 View of New Bedford. From the Fort Near Fairhaven. after . Conant Lane, del. , itz, enry, lbert.

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Lane, F[itz] H[enry], after A[lbert]. Conant, del. 

View of New Bedford. From the Fort Near Fairhaven.

Boston: Published by A. Conant; Lane & Scott’s Lith. Tremont Temple, 1845. Hand-colored lithograph, 16.25” x 25.25”, plus margins. CONDITION: Very good, minor wear to margins.

A scarce, handsome view of New Bedford and its harbor by celebrated lithographic artist and marine painter Fitz Henry Lane, after a sketch by A. Conant, with original contributions by Lane.

This view depicts the harbor and city as seen from Fairhaven, Mass. on the eastern shore of the Acushnet River. New Bedford occupies the entire stretch of land on the opposite side of the harbor, where some of the city’s whaling fleet is docked along the waterfront, and steeples and tall buildings jut out of the densely packed city. At this time, New Bedford’s whaling fleet was the largest in the country, the city having eclipsed Nantucket in the 1840s as America's preeminent whaling port. In the foreground is a grassy area populated by small trees and a recumbent bull which is separated from the shore by a split-rail fence. Two men rest against the fence and three individuals apparently dig for clams near the water. The true focus of this view is the busy harbor, which provided Lane ample opportunity to exercise his skill in depicting ships and other vessels. On the right, two men row a skiff toward a nearby schooner at anchor. Distributed throughout the middle ground are sailboats, whaling ships, and steamboats, including the paddle steamer Massachusetts at center (emitting a plume of smoke) which was built in 1842 for the Nantucket Steamboat Co. and operated between Nantucket, Cape Cod ports, and New Bedford. Seen on the left is a small island, and smaller vessels such as sloops and schooners likely engaged in the coastal trade, transporting passengers and goods to local harbors and islands.

Although based on Conant’s sketch, this view includes significant contributions by Lane, who added a number of whaling ships. It has been noted that Lane’s earliest visit to New Bedford was in 1856 (on the occasion of the New York Yacht Club regatta). If this is true the details of the whaling ships included here may derive from his observation of such ships in other Massachusetts seaports, such as Gloucester, where Lane lived. He may have also consulted contemporary published views of whaling ships in lithographs and/or newspaper articles.

An important American marine painter and practitioner par excellence of the school of painting known as luminism, Fitz Henry Lane (1804–1865) also made notable contributions to lithography, his name being associated with at least fifty-six lithographs, including sheet music covers, book illustrations, broadside illustrations, and full scale town views. Between 1844 and 1848, Lane worked in partnership with John W. A. Scott (1815–1907) in Boston as Lane & Scott, the two men having both apprenticed at Pendleton’s Lithography and having become marine painters. Lane & Scott produced sheet music covers, book illustrations, and town views, and other views that Albert Conant also worked on include View of Newburyport (Boston, 1845) and A view of Newton Corner, As seen from Fiske Hill (Boston, ca. 1845).  

Born in Vermont, Albert Conant (1821–1883) was an artist, printer, and publisher. From 1835 to 1850 Conant drew a range of New England town views (including six towns in Massachusetts) that were printed by various lithographers, including J. H. Bufford, E. W. Bouvé, John W. A. Scott, and Lane & Scott. He appears to be the same A. Conant whose views of Kansas towns were lithographed by Middleton, Strowbridge & Co. of Cincinnati between 1857 and 1859. Conant died in Boston in 1883.

A splendid lithographic view from the hand of a celebrated American marine artist.

REFERENCES: Pierce, Sally and Catharina Slautterback. Boston Lithography, 1825–1880 (Boston, 1991), p. 141; Ronnberg, Erik. “Catalog entry: View of New Bedford: From the Fort near Fairhaven” at Fitz Henry Lane Online; “Fitz Henry Lane Biography” at Fitz Henry Lane Online. 

Item #7082

Price: $3,500.00

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