Sheet 3 of Gifford's rare 5-sheet (9 foot) panorama of San Francisco, published by A. Rosenfield in San Francisco, in 1862.
The present sheet is centered on Telegraph Hill and Yerba Buena or Goat Island, with Oakland and the East Bay in the distance and the Jackson Street and Pacific Street Wharves at the far right.
Of note is the Congregation Sherith Israel, one of the oldest synagogues in the United States. The Congregation is one of two established in San Francisco in 1850-51. Sherith Israel followed the minhag Polen, the traditions of Jews from Posen in Prussia, while Congregation Emanu-El chose to worship according to the German practices of Jews from Bavaria. Emanu-El is typically considered the oldest Jewish synagoge west of the Mississippi River.
Gifford's view was executed in five separate sections, totaling 9 feet, if joined, and identifying 121 points of interest. The present view illustrates the first of San Francisco's heavily built-up streets Details of buildings, streets, and other features are rendered with great exactness and a stunning wealth of detail. Churches, synagogues, the Masonic temple, wharves, and streets are all identified. "...[I]t took an ambitious project like Charles Gifford's multisectioned panorama to record completely the city's tremendous growth" - Deák.
Gifford's view is the first panorama of San Francisco and perhaps the single most ambitious city view undertaken in the American West up to that time. It would remain unrivaled as a lithographic view of San Francisco and unsurpassed in detail until Muybridge's photographic panorama of San Francisco.
Peters calls it "important and rare." It is an incredible production, both as a landmark in western lithography, and as a view of a major American city in the midst of a period of tremendous growth. . Eberstadt describes the work as "One of the rarest and most important of items relating to San Francisco".
Charles Gifford came to California in 1860, and was active until 1877. According to Reps, "Gifford's finest and most ambitious view was a sweeping panorama from Russian Hill." The view was lithographed by Louis Nagel, who had been well-known as a lithographer in New York before coming to San Francisco in 1856.
Reps notes that the publisher, Rosenfield, made the panorama available in three versions in 1862: one printed on thin paper and mounted on cloth; another as here, printed on single sheets on heavier paper; and a third mounted on cloth and fastened to wooden rollers.
Deák and Reps locate six copies of this panorama (MWA, DLC, CU-B, CSmH, Wells Fargo, California State Pioneers).
Charles B. Gifford began drawing views of California in 1860. His earliest views include the Mission Dolores, Vallejo and Santa Clara. Most of his work was published by Louis Nagel.
A lithographer and landscape artist, Charles Gifford was born in 1830 in Massachusetts and appears to have moved to California about 1855 with his wife, Josepha of Nicaragua. After settling in San Francisco, he worked with various lithographers such as the Nahi brothers and Grafton Tyler Brown, before becoming a partner of William V. Gray in a lithography firm.
In 1862, Gifford's 5 sheet view of San Francisco from Russian Hill is perhaps his most famous work. Over teh couse of his career, Reps credits him with 15 views, including 2 of Washington Cities in 1862 and 13 of California cities (1860-77).