San Francisco 1849
[No place: circa 1880]. Tintstone lithograph with additional hand-colouring, sheet size: 18 1/8 x 33 3/4 inches. Framed in gold leaf frame with painted black panel.
Firk's rare view of the city of San Francisco in 1849: "one of the best-known early San Francisco views" (Peters).
Henry Firks was a painter and lithographer known primarily for his images of California during the mid-nineteenth century. His works are held by the Bancroft Library, California Society of Pioneers, and the University of California. This fine and rare lithograph depicts the city only months before the great increase in population brought about by the Gold Rush.
Baird and Evans record eight issues of this image: this is the seventh with no imprint and fifty-two numbers and fifty-two items of reference listed beneath the image. "A wide-ranging portrait of San Francisco, crisply rendered by the artist Henry Firks, is provided in this important view of the city...the view delineates the main features of the newly laid-out town: its favorable location on a wide bay; the hilly terrain affording lookout points; the low commercial structures lining the shore; the residential buildings of various make, some substantial, most not; and the large amount of shipping accommodated by the harbor. At the right is the Pacific Ocean entrance to the harbor, already known as the Golden Gate. Flush with the right-hand margin of the arched view is Yerba Buena Island, preserving San Francisco's original name. Firks' rendering is the source of numerous other views of San Francisco looking north on Montgomery Street to Telegraph Hill" (Deák).
Baird & Evans Historic Lithographs of San Francisco (1972) 8g; California on Stone pp.120-121; Deák Picturing America 584; cf. Reps Views and Viewmakers 242; Who Was Who in American Art (Madison, Ct.: Sound View Press, 1999) I, p.1124