Portrait of a Place

An Educator’s Guide to the History of Art on Cape Ann

Five indepth units of background reading from precontact to 1920, placing artwork from the collection of the Cape Ann Museum in the context of American History. Each unit incorporates a study guide to a specific work from the chapter with stimulus questions and writing prompts. Teacher notes give more background to the artist and their work, and include extension study features connected to state and national curriculum standards for grades preK–12.

Portrait of a Place was created in collaboration with the Gloucester Education Foundation and the Gloucester Public Schools. It was generously funded by the Gloucester Education Foundation, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Guttman Foundation, and Jebediah Foundation.


Chapter 1
A Richly Woven Story (Pre-Contact-1850)

The Story Begins – Le Beau Port – Given the Name "Gloucester" – Sampling the Past – Grave Art – Cape Ann at War – The Art of Portraiture – Folk Artist – A Pioneer in the Field – The Influence of Photography – Lively Composition

→ A Closer Look: Samplers and Alfred Wiggin


Chapter 2
New England Renaissance: Industrial Expansion and Intellectual Advances (1850-1871)

Economic and Cultural Growth – Cape Ann’s Economic Boom – Gloucester’s Native Son – A Spiritual Experience – The Natural World and the Divine – “A Serious Woman Painter” – Influenced by Lane

→ A Closer Look: Fitz Henry Lane & D. Jerome Elwell


Chapter 3
A Period of Great Change: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1860-1880

The World Turned Upside Down – Art and Industry – A Clean and Pleasant Place – Civil War Veteran and Artist – Winslow Homer – William Morris Hunt and European Influence – After William Morris Hunt – A Marriage of Art and Photography

→ A Closer Look: Winslow Homer & Martha Hale Harvey


Chapter 4
The Turn of the Twentieth Century: The Second Industrial Revolution and the Gilded Age

The Second Industrial Revolution – The Advent of Urban Culture – Women Artists and the New Aestheticism – A Teacher of Sculpture – A View from the Terrace

→ A Closer Look: Cecilia Beaux & Katharine Weems


Chapter 5
A Shared Vision: The Rise of the Cape Ann Art Colonies, 1890-1920

Artists Turned to Europe – “A Great Resort for Artists” – Artist as Historian – More American than French – The Painter Who Fell in Love with East Gloucester – Discovering Rockport

→ A Closer Look: Augustus Buhler & Childe Hassam




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