An early Czech engraving of the California mission at Monterey. Interesting and unusual. $85
Prints California Indians from James C. Prichard's The Natural History of Man. London: Hippolyte Balliere, 1845. Octavo (9 1/2 x 5 1/2 full sheet). Etchings. Original hand color. Paper time toned. Very good condition. Denver.
A pair of prints of Native Californians from James C. Prichard's fascinating Natural History of Man. By the final life-time edition of this work, issued in 1847, Prichard had gathered all available research about various races of humankind, and his work became an important foundation for modern ethnological science. Included were fine portraits of different human races including this pair. With their accurate detail, fine original hand color, and significant place in the history of the study of humankind, these are most desirable prints.
Robert Sears was a New York publisher of "most splendidly-illustrated" books, intended for "all persons interested in the diffusion of useful knowledge. A Book for the Wives and Children of the Farmer, Mechanic, Laborer, Physician, Lawyer, and Divine-for Person in every sphere and station of Life, and for Followers of every Pursuit." These works included excellent wood engravings showing scenes around the United States and the world, including these prints issued just before and during the California gold rush.
A classic humorous image of a '49er' from the Hartford Kellogg lithographic firm. The "Independent Gold Hunter" is heading off to California (1700 miles away) with a suitcase in hand, various implements over his shoulder and in his pocket, with a cook-pot atop his head, and sausages and fish also in tow. $1,400
Prints from Bayard Taylor's Eldorado, or, Adventures in the Path of Empire. New York: George P. Putnam, 1850. Ca 3 3/4 x 6. Tinted lithographs by Sarony & Major. Very good condition.
Bayard Taylor was a travel writer and in the wake of the California Gold Rush wrote a volume about "A Voyage to California...Life in San Francisco and Monterey; pictures of the gold region..." This included some charming tinted lithographs based on his own first-hand drawings. These are rare and lovely images of California at this exciting time.
This is a view of San Francisco in 1849, based on an original drawing made "on the spot" by Henry Firks. The view shows the city at the dawn of the Gold Rush from a vantage at Rincon Point towards Telegraph Hill. The city consisted then mostly of a cluster of wooden buildings by the harbor, though a number of tents scattered about show that the city couldn't house all the 49ers passing who arrived on the large line of ships shown anchored off shore. A number of larger warehouses and stores have the name of the company printed on the side, and California and Montgomery Streets are labeled. The image is visually stunning, but much of its interest comes from the sixty-two sites, buildings and ships identified in a key at the bottom. One of these (#10) is the Schooner Philadelphia, depicted in flames, as it burned in the harbor on June 24th, 1849. This view was first published by W.H. Jones in 1849, with the lithograph done by T. Sinclair of Philadelphia. It went through a number of editions in the nineteenth century, each issue with an increased number of references, beginning from an initial 45 to this print's sixty-two. A legend at the bottom explains that this "Latest edition corrected by a Committee of Pioneers, consisting of Richard M. Sherman - William Heath Davis - Ferdinand Vassault." The view seems to have remained popular throughout the century and this print states it was "for sale by all principal art & book stores." $1,800
C.C. Kuchel. "View of San Francisco. 1850. Taken from a high point on the south side." New York: Henry Bill, 1850. Copyright by Theodore T. Johnson. From The History of the World. 9 x 12 1/2. Tinted lithograph by P.S. Duval. Folded as issued and with old repaired tear at right. Mounted on to mat board. Otherwise, very good condition. In period wood frame. Denver.
A wonderful panoramic view of San Francisco near the beginning of the Gold Rush, "Published by the Author of 'Sights in the Gold Region &c.'" This first-hand print was drawn by C.C. Kuckel (1820-ca. 1865). Kuchel was born in Switzerland and emigrated to America in the 1840s. He moved to San Francisco about the time he drew this image, later forming a lithography firm with Emil Dresel. The scene shows Yerba Buena harbor from Rincon Point, looking towards Telegraph Hill. The town is spread out mostly in the valley, and the harbor is shown bustling with ships-mostly involved in the traffic related to the Gold Rush which started just the year before this print was issued in Henry Bill's History of the World. $950
Prints from Gleason's Drawing-Room Companion. Boston, 1851. Wood engravings. Very good condition.
The Gold Rush that began in 1849 was still of great interest to those in the eastern United States in 1851, so when Gleason's Drawing-Room Companion began its publication that year as America's first illustrated newspaper, events in California were described and pictured a number of times. Gleason's achieved great success because it provided for the first time contemporary images of far-off places to the general public and many in the East would have poured with great interest over these wood engravings of the West Coast.
From 1833 to 1864, Joseph Meyer, of Hildburghausen Germany, issued a journal, Meyer's Universum, containing text and steel engravings of all parts of the world. In 1849 he sent his son Herrmann to New York to set up an American branch of the business, and Herrmann issued an American edition of the Universum in 1852-53. This work contained many of the prints from the German version, but new images, specifically commissioned for the American edition, were added. These images of California were issued very shortly after the great "Gold Rush" of 1849. The two city views show the activity which caused those communities to grow tremendously, with ships filling the San Francisco Bay and lined up at Sacramento's quay. Also included are two images of gold mining; one of panning for gold and one of a gold mine. These are some of the earliest images of '49ers' in action.
From a set of rare, contemporary views of California during the Gold Rush, which though not from one of the many official reports of the period, do provide images as accurate and informative as any of the government publications. These charming lithographs were issued in John M. Lett's A Pictorial View of California, which claimed to have "Information and Advice Interesting To All, Particularly Those Who Intend To Visit The Golden Region." The artist, G.V. Cooper, was a painter, cameo cutter and sculptor who went to California with Letts in 1849, making sketches of many of the major sites. These prints provided some of the earliest accurate, first-hand images that those on the East Coast would have had of California during the Gold Rush, and they wonderfully capture this brief yet seminal moment in American history. Some of the prints are of the larger settlements in California, but most are scenes of the gold camps and of prospectors at work. The lithographs were drawn by J. Cameron, better known for his work with Currier & Ives, and Brown & Severin. Given their immediacy and accuracy these are historical artifacts of some note. $110
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