A large circa 1881 Bosqui lithograph of an important San Francisco architectural landmark.

Holbrook Merrill & Stetson, Stoves, Metals Etc. Cor. of Market & Beale Sts. San Francisco.

$1,200

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SKU: NL-01501 Category: Tag:
Cartographer(s): Bosqui Eng. Co.
Date: ca. 1878
Place: San Francisco
Dimensions: 44 x 58 cm (17 x 23 in)
Condition Rating: Fair

Description

This is a rare c. 1881 view of the Holbrook, Merrill & Stetson office building at the corner of Market St. and Beale St. in downtown San Francisco. The building was constructed in 1871 and was among the more prominent buildings in San Francisco prior to the 1906 earthquake and fire. Today, the location is near the westernmost street entrance to the Embarcadero BART Station.

The view shows a bustling city scene with pedestrians, carriages, and a ‘horsecar,’ horse-drawn cars traveling along steel rails. Though they continued to be used into the early 20th century, horsecars (and steam-powered urban railways) were eclipsed by cable cars soon after this print’s publication. In 1882, Leland Stanford and Associates purchased the Market Street Railway and the following year opened the first cable car line on Market Street. 

James B. Stetson founded the most successful hardware and metal wares company in San Francisco’s early decades. In 1878, his company merged with a competitor to form Holbrook Merrill & Stetson. Although their building did not survive the 1906 earthquake and fire, the company continued to operate into the 1950s. 

This view was drawn by an artist only named as ‘W.H.’ and lithographed by Edward Bosqui & Co. The only other known examples are held by the State Library of California and the University of California Berkeley.

Cartographer(s):

Bosqui Eng. Co.

Edward Bosqui (1832–1917) was a Canadian artist and engraver born in Montreal. In 1850, he emigrated to California, eventually settling in San Francisco, where he became a well-known patron of the arts.

Little is known about Bosqui’s early life and training, but in 1863 he founded the Bosqui Engraving and Printing Company in San Francisco. Being a boom town, his firm did well in the beginning, living off the ample advertising opportunities that San Francisco and California presented. During this period of commercial success, Bosqui also dedicated himself to promoting culture – in particular, the arts. He was, among other things, a founding member of the San Francisco Art Association, which later would become the San Francisco Art Institute and which still exists today as the city’s Museum of Modern Art.

Bosqui’s success was not to last, though. In 1893, during one of the great conflagrations in early San Francisco (probably the Thomas Dye Works fire on August 9th), the Bosqui Engraving and Printing Company burnt to the ground. Four years later, another fire within the city destroyed his home.

Condition Description

Margin replacements in top of sheet to image edge and slightly into the image top right corner. Several skillfully repaired tears, backed on Japan. A good impression of this rare advertising broadside.

References