NP: np, nd [ca. 1896-1907]. Silk broadside, 17 1/2 x 18 in., printed with 9 different images of varying sizes. The central photo of the Victorian style "Cliff House" with a beach scene full of well dressed visitors in the fore-ground, is surrounded by smaller images. Four of the photos have printed caption titles (three of these also have identifying stock photo numbers): "27. A. The Golden Gate S.F." ; "The Seal Rocks S.F."; "28. "Breakers" near the Cliff House"; "126. Street ... (illegible)" [most likely a scene in Chinatown, the photo shows a Chinese man in a padded jacket and bowler hat, with two children in traditional dress, posing in a narrow street, under a sign with Chinese characters]. Other images include a view of a promenade with women in long dresses and elaborate hats strolling with gentlemen in suits and hats; two water views; and a pair of young Chinese girls in traditional costume. The silk broadside is a bit frayed at the edges, with browning to the margins, rumpled from folding, one small ink blot on verso showing through to a blank spot on one of the images. The word "Lustral" printed in block letters on verso. The cyanotypes are otherwise clear. Item #60366
The Victorian style Cliff House was built in 1896 by Adolph Sutro, after a fire destroyed the previous structure on the site. According to a short history of the Cliff House: "Fashioned after a French chateau, the second Cliff House opened in February of 1896 and boasted eight stories, four spires, and an observation tower 200 feet above sea level. Though never a hotel, it served as an elegant site for dining, dancing, and entertainment." The Cliff House survived the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 only to burn to the ground the following year.
The cyanotype method of "fixing" a photographic image became a popular way of producing photos in the late 1880's for both professional and amateur photographers. [see: "Photography in America: The Formative Years 1839-1900," by William Welling (NY: 1978)].