Lane began his professional training in 1832 as an apprentice to the Boston lithographer, William S. Pendelton. However, by 1841 he had become so well known for his oil paintings that the Boston Almanac listed him as a 'Marine Painter.' "Lane's earliest paintings date from the beginning of the forties, and possess a comparable interest in recounting the accumulated details of a scene and the various actions of people and vessels in it. This may be partially credited to the influence of Robert Salmon, the English-born marine painter active in Boston during Lane's period of apprenticeship" (William A. Farnsworth Library and Art Museum Rockland, Maine, Fitz Hugh Lane, 1974, pg. 4).
Rounding the Lighthouse was most likely painted somewhere along the Massachusetts shoreline, as during the early 1840s Lane was a resident of Gloucester, Massachusetts. It exemplifies Lane's early Anglo-Dutch style that eventually developed into the luminist style for which he is well known. There is a sense of movement--the caps on the waves, the sails filled with gusts of wind, and the clouds all moving from the East. Yet within this light-filled composition one can see the beginnings of his later luminist style which is known for its stillness and silence.
The silvery blues and greens of the water and sky lend a vibrancy to the composition and give one the sense of the brisk weather patterns before a storm. The boat to the left shows a sailor in the red struggling with a line, while the other two ships seem to be heading homeward. The land in the background stands safe and still with the lighthouse along the rocky point--possibly Gloucester's Ten Pound Island.