[Yosemite] "270. The South Dome, Yosemite." Albumen print. LAWRENCE, HOUSEWORTH, publishers.
[Yosemite] "270. The South Dome, Yosemite." Albumen print.

[Yosemite] "270. The South Dome, Yosemite." Albumen print. San Francisco: Lawrence & Houseworth, 317 & 319 Montgomery st., n.d. Album card, 10x6 cm (3 7/8 x 2 3/8 inches) with slightly smaller mounted albumen print, produced between 1864 and 1867. Imprint on the verso of the mount reads: "ALBUM VIEWS / [fancy rule] of [fancy rule] / CALIFORNIA / Photographed and / Published by / Lawrence & Houseworth, / 317 & 319 Montgomery st / SAN FRANCISCO. / (Copyright Secured.) 2¢ green "proprietary" revenue stamp affixed to card verso. In the summer of 1851, optician George S. Lawrence and photographer Thomas Houseworth formed a partnership and opened an optician's office in San Francisco at 177 Clay Street. As an extension of their business Lawrence & Houseworth sold camera lenses and in 1859 the partnership began selling stereoscopic photographs produced by other firms. In the following year they turned publishers themselves, issuing the first of their stereoscopic views of the West. In 1868 Lawrence retired from the partnership and the studio at 317 and 319 Montgomery Street became known as Thomas Houseworth & Company. Lawrence & Houseworth "produced many of the best of the early stereoviews of California as well as the earliest mammoth plate views of Yosemite Valley by C. L. Weed" (Mautz, p. 145). In 1865 the firm submitted a group of of San Francisco photographs for copyright, thereby prompting other local photographers to copyright their own work after circa 1867. Thomas Houseworth & Company became the "leading retailer and publisher of photographs in the city, often employing or purchasing the negatives of other photographers and selling prints under the Houseworth imprint. " (Mautz, p. 136). This photograph was taken by Charles Leander Weed (1824-1903), the first Yosemite photographer. Weed's first photographs of the valley were taken in 1859. This photograph was taken in 1864 during his second trip to Yosemite. "In the summer of 1864, the enterprising San Francisco gallery of Lawrence and Houseworth hired Weed to return to Yosemite ... Weed obtained another impressive series of views. Demonstrating Weed's improving style, these images were of a quality far superior to that of his 1859 views. Moreover, printed as gold-toned albumen prints, a new medium, the images had a richness and clarity lacking in the flat-looking salt prints. Gallery advertising promoted these latest photographs as 'crowning achievements of art.' However, in the nascent genre of photography-acclaimed-as-art, Weed's employers, who footed the bill, did not include his name in their printed captions or in their catalogues ... When Lawrence and Houseworth sent a selection of Weed's prints (without credit) to the prestigious Paris Exposition of 1867, including twenty-six of his mammoth plates of Yosemite, it was the gallery, not the artist, who came away with a bronze medal, the highest award. (The gallery then capitalized on the prize's promotional value by reproducing the medal on the backs of their mounts.)" (Gary F. Kurutz, "Yosemite on Glass," Yosemite: The Art of an American Icon, edited by Amy Scott [Autry National Center, 2006]), pp. 59-60.). Fine (#166654).

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