FORBES, Captain Robert Bennet (1804-1889) - Fitz Henry LANE (1804-1865)
The Voyage of the Jamestown on her Errand of Mercy
Boston: Eastburn's Press, 1847. 8vo. (9 1/4 x 5 1/2 inches). ix, , -27, , , cliv pp. Lithographed frontispiece by Fitz Henry Lane.
Publisher's blindstamped brown cloth, upper cover titled in gilt.
With a lithographed frontispiece by Fitz Henry Lane.
A Boston committee of philanthropists and a joint resolution of Congress authorized the Navy to deploy the Jamestown, under Captain Forbes, to deliver 8,000 barrels of provisions to Cork, Ireland during the great potato famine. This work was published subsequently, so that the "expedition will always be remembered in the history of philanthrophy." The work includes Forbes' account of the voyage and his reception, as well as a lengthy appendix containing transcripts of numerous letters and resolutions relating to the voyage. Importantly, the lithographed frontispiece of the ship departing from Boston is by Fitz Henry Lane (also known, mistakenly, as Fitz Hugh Lane). "Lane had already made two lithographs of Forbes's innvotative steam-powered vessels in 1845, Auxiliary Steam Packet Ship Massachusetts (inv. 442) and Steam packet ship Mass., in a Squall, Nov. 10, 1845 (inv. 443). It was natural that, in 1847, Forbes would turn to Lane to make a lithograph for the frontispiece of his book. In the print the sloop is sitting low in the water, attesting to its heavy load. Forbes's steam tow boat, the 'R. B. Forbes' is in the water behind the 'Jamestown' and the buildings of Boston and Charlestown can be seen behind that" (Fitz Henry Lane Online, Cape Ann Museum, Inv. 475). Lane, born in Gloucester, Massachusetts, was christened Nathaniel Rogers Lane, but for reasons that are now unknown changed his name legally in 1831 to Fitz Henry. At the relatively late age of 28, he moved to Boston and apprenticed himself to the lithographer William S. Pendleton, and from 1832 to about 1848 worked at establishing himself as both a lithographer and marine landscape painter. Lane remained with Pendleton from 1832 to 1837, he then joined the newly formed company of Keith and Moore. In 1845 Lane opened his own lithographic shop in partnership with marine painter John W. A. Scott: a business arrangement that continued through summer of 1848, when Lane moved back to Gloucester. The present print includes the Lane & Scott imprint. He remained in his home town for the rest of his life, a popular and successful marine painter and lithographic print maker, but his reputation languished after his death in 1865. A re-evaluation of his accomplishments as an artist only began in the mid-20th century, a process that continues today. It is only in the last twenty years that the unique qualities of Lane's lithographic work have been appreciated: as in his paintings, his prints display sensitivity to gradations of light and a refined draughtsmanship that is virtually unique among 19th-century American lithographers.
Sabin 25051; Craig, James. Fitz H. Lane: An Artist's Voyage through Nineteenth-Century America. Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2006., fig. 32.