1849 View of San Francisco, G.T. Brown

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1849 View of San Francisco, G.T. Brown
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Lithograph taken from an 1849 painting by Henry Firks of a sparsely populated San Francisco Bay. An array of ships both large and small are pictured to the right of center in the harbor, while rancher-style houses can be seen on land to the left and along the shore. Mountains are visible in the background. The names of each respective building is listed in a key below the drawing, while the buildings of the shipyard along the shore have their names written on their sides. To the far right, a collection of tents can be seen surrounding a campfire. Lists 51 ships in the bay and buildings. The American Schooner Philadelphia is shown on fire (burned on June 24). Also shown is the USS Warren. During the war with Mexico, Warren acted as a guardship at Monterey, California and eventually moved to San Francisco, for duty as a stores and receiving ship. While in the San Francisco Harbor, the sloop-of-war's launch departed the ship with $900.00 to pay bills accrued by the Navy for supplies, bound for Sutter's Fort, up the Sacramento River. But no word was ever heard from them. Eventually, the fate of Warren's launch came to light. The officers had been murdered - their throats cut - and their bodies thrown overboard. The men divided the money and split up, some returning overland across the North American continent to the east; others remained in California to pan for "washing gold." Records do not indicate whether or not the guilty men were ever found and brought to trial.

G. T. Brown is arguably the (or at least one of the) most important West Coast lithographers during the 1800's. He was a self-trained artist and pioneer lithographer. He took on the largest San Francisco lithographic firms in the 1860's and 70's and equaled them in design. The most spectacular of Grafton Brown's works are his city views. The earlier stylistic views were artist's low-angled perspectives. This is one of his sixteen city views and is considered a 'stray' in Robert Chandler's extensive look at Brown in his new book "San Francisco Lithographer: African American Artist Grafton Tyler Brown." Painting was done in 1849 for W. H. Jones by Henry Firks. Lithograph done by G. T. Brown in 1868. 1" rip on left. Larger professionally repaired tear on right that goes into lithograph. Seems to have been repaired professionally. Part of upper right border town off. Framed this piece measures 36' x 20".City: San FranciscoCounty: San Francisco CountyState: CADate: