4th Aug, 2022 10:30

Books & Works on Paper

  Lot 206

California Gold Rush.- Bruff (Joseph Goldsborough) & Gatliff (W. H., ‘M. D.’) Sketchbook artists

California Gold Rush.-

Bruff (Joseph Goldsborough) & Gatliff (W. H., ‘M. D.’) Sketchbook artists

A sketchbook of watercolours and pencil drawings variously dated between 1849 and 1851, many signed and annotated, featuring 17 portraits, and further head studies, 4 sketched compositions, 9 maritime and coastal views (5 double-paged), along with numerous costume studies and 2 other views (initialled by Gatliff), 76 pp. total, tissue guards with further images, 19 x 26cm, some soiling and loose pages, original quarter morocco, worn;

The compositions include: ‘The Gatliff Pine, Trinidad Ca.; Feby. 22nd, 1851’; A sinking sailor; ‘Scene in the Sierra Nevada’ with stylised rope writing; composition dated March 1st, 1851 with Burns poem: ‘Tho I to foreign lands must hie’;

The portraits include: G. H?. Stevenson; Tho. Hayward; George Waller Vesey, Royal Tyrone Militia; A. M. Forbes; D. Elliot, R. A.; John De La Mare; Chas. Hughes; John Lethbridge; W. R. Wynne; R. I. Webster?, R. N.;

The maritime and coastal scenes include: ‘Portion of coast between Trinidad Bay & Klamath River, Ca.’; American and British navy ships;

The costume studies and South American scenes by Gatliff include: ‘Mariano, An Indian of Bolivia’; ‘Spanish Costumes’; 'Gibraltar, May 1849'

The views by Gatliff include: City of Panama, from the Sea; City of Panama, from Caledonia Hill;

*** The drawings in this sketchbook correspond closely with those held by the Huntington Library, whilst the names (including Gatliff) and places are mentioned throughout Bruff’s journal: ‘Gold rush : the journals, drawings, and other papers of J. Goldsborough Bruff, captain, Washington City and California Mining Association, April 2, 1849-July 20, 1851’ (Columbia University Press, 1949).

‘[FEB.] 13th (Trinidad) Clear and cool. Made the acquaintance of Dr. Gatlin [identified as Gatliff in the index], a graduate of the Royal College of Surgeons, London, and a talented artist. We walked together and made some sketches. I drew the bay, &c.’. p. 479.

Joseph Goldsborough Bruff (1804-1889) is best known as a topographer, journalist, and artist of the gold rush era. He attended West Point from 1820 and organised the Washington City and California Mining Association expedition.

After following the Lassen Trail into California, the expedition disbanded, and Bruff spent a difficult winter in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. He then travelled around California's gold country, making drawings of geographic landmarks, mining camps, and scenes which piqued his interest.

Today, significant collections of Bruff’s work are held by the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the Huntington Library, Yale University Library, and the Smithsonian. Although his works do occasionally come up for auction, we have found no records for such significant material relating to the Gold Rush.

Further images available upon request.

Sold for £20,000

Includes Buyer's Premium


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