Attributed To Robert H. Vance, ‘Street Scene in Benicia, Solano County, California’, 1850s, Sotheby's

Important Daguerreotypes from the Stanley B. Burns, MD, Collection

The photographer's 'R. H. Vance's Premium Daguerrean Galleries, San Francisco, Sacramento, Marysville' credit stamped on the velvet lining.

Quarter-plate

From the Catalogue:
Benicia, California, was founded on 26 December 1846 and was a major thoroughfare for eastbound vessels along the route to the goldfields. Because of Benicia’s strategic location halfway between Sacramento and San Francisco, many early Californians thought that the town would surpass San Francisco in both population and importance. During the Gold Rush, commerce thrived and, from 1853 to 1854, Benicia served as the second capital of the young state of California.

The present quarter-plate daguerreotype offers a fascinating view of lower First Street in Benicia, with several storefront signs clearly legible. The Gazette Printing Office pictured at far left was likely the home of the California Gazette, which was in existence from 1851 to 1852. Signs for neighboring sundry stores advertise C. E. Wetmore, purveyor of clothing and dry goods, and a certain Samuel C. Gray. The Gold Rush lured Gray from Baltimore to Benicia quite early, in 1849. By 1855, Gray was noted as an established merchant offering among other items clothing, crockery, hardware, and stoves, several of which appear to be on display on the store’s porch.
—Courtesy of Sotheby's

Oakland Museum of California, Silver & Gold: Cased Images of the California Gold Rush, January - July 1998, and traveling thereafter to:
Washington, D. C., National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, October 1998 - March 1999
Sacramento, Crocker Art Gallery, August - October 1999

Stanley B. Burns, Mirror Mirror: The Burns Collection Daguerreotypes (New York: The Burns Archive Press, 2012), pl. 12
The Encyclopedia of Collectibles: Photographs to Quilts (Alexandria, 1979), pp. 16-7
Drew Heath Johnson and Marcia Eymann, eds., Silver & Gold: Cased Images of the California Gold Rush (University of Iowa Press for the Oakland Museum of California, 1998), pl. 116

Acquired from Joseph Buberger, New Haven, 1976