Fine Early View of San Francisco on the Eve of the Gold Rush
An important San Francisco view, showing the city just a few months before the explosion in population which came with the Gold Rush.
As noted by Deak:
"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).
In California on Stone, Harry T. Peters comments: "Firks was the artist of one of the best-known early San Francisco views.." The view was an exciting enough find in 1943 for Goodspeed's Bookshop to illustrate the lithograph in one of its catalogs with the tag-line "Here it is."
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.