Sketchbooks and albums, Fine art, Prints, drawings and watercolours, Admiral Sir Edward Gennys Fanshawe (1814–1906)

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'San Francisco, California, Octr 6th 1851'

Sketchbooks and albums

Object details:

Object ID PAI4668
Description No. 61 in Fanshawe's Pacific album, 1849 - 52. Fold-out panoramic drawing on two joined sheets, the right one fixed to the album page, which is captioned by the artist below the image, as title. The view appears to be taken from the north-east, possibly with Treasure Island (with buildings) on the left, and the Golden Gate out of sight behind the headland which carries the town. 'One singular feature of this town' Fanshawe wrote, 'is the difficulty of telling where the sea ends and land begins (Fanshawe [1904] p. 275)....Ships and houses, wharves and streets...seem to merge into each other imperceptibly. The reason of this is that a great part of San Francisco was the sea; and, being the sea, was let out in building lots between which the main streets are continued first as wharves running out seaward, and then as streets where the holders of the lots have appropriated them...either by driving piles and filling in with sand, or by grounding old ships and building wooden houses over them; whilst the serviceable ships are alongside of the part which yet retains the character of a wharf. On all sides you may get; drinks of all sorts; oysters in all styles; meals at all hours. There are now about 30,000 inhabitants, and I should think that number would not much increase, as several "cities" are springing up in the neighbourhood of the [gold] diggings.There are perhaps 250 or 300 sea-going ships in the port of which about 70 or 80 are English. The American merchant ships are the finest ...I ever saw, and their speed exceeds anything ever heard of before...' (p. 277). This view shows the crowded shipping of the booming port.
Date made 6 October 1851

Artist/Maker Fanshawe, Edward Gennys
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials watercolour
Measurements Sheet: 176 x 515 mm
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