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Description

Extremely Rare Augustus Koch Bird's Eye of the Capital of California.

Superb three-stone lithographed view of Sacramento, California, produced in 1870 by the master view maker Augustus Koch.

The view is projected with east at the top, the Sacramento River in the foreground, and the American River in the background. Sacramento had been substantially rebuilt after the devastating flood of 1862, and this view is evidence of how far the city had come in 8 years.

The view is characteristic of Koch's excellent compositional skills and his attention to detail; every building is rendered individually, with many numbered (corresponding to a 78-item key), down to the train with "emigrant car" written on passenger cars, and names on some of the riverboats.

The key is one of the more interesting aspects of the view, as it gives a detailed cross-section of what constituted an important public building in Sacramento at the time. For instance, there are six fire engine companies listed: I Confidence Fire Engine House; II Protection Fire Engine House; III Sacramento Engine Company; IV Eureka Engine Company; V Knickerbocker Engine Company; VI Young America Engine Company. In 1872, these would amalgamate into the first paid fire fighting force west of the Mississippi.

This view was completed at the beginning of Koch's career. Koch began producing views in 1868, and for the first two years of his career focused exclusively on Iowa. In 1870, he moved west, making one view in Utah, one in Wyoming, and three in California, including the present title. Koch's output would eventually reach 110 views produced between 1868 and 1898, making this part of the first 10% of his output.

Reps (Views and Viewmarks, page 185), says of Koch:

Koch drew his cities with considerable care, consistently depicting his subjects as if seen from high viewpoints. The horizon lines appear close to the tops of the images, and the body of each print is thus full of urban detail. Koch also used a distinctive format, making his horizontal dimension not much greater than the vertical... He seems to have drawn with substantial accuracy.

Rarity

Reps (Views and Viewmakers 213) lists only three examples: Amon Carter Museum; UC Berkeley; California State Library. The second state, with Snow & Roos as the publisher, is held by only the California State Library.

Condition Description
Expertly restored at the bottom edge, with some archival leafcast infill and minor facsimile reinstate of some letters in the right-most key column. A few other leafcase reinforcements of the margins and a very few small spots of thinning on the verso of the image.
Reference
Reps, Views and Viewmakers, 213 (evidently the first state, without reference to Snow & Roos as the publisher); Reps, Cities on Stone, page 96.