Vue du Presidio Sn. Francisco [original drawing], Louis Choris
Vue du Presidio Sn. Francisco [original drawing]
Louis Choris
Vue du Presidio Sn. Francisco [engraving], Louis Choris
Vue du Presidio Sn. Francisco [engraving]
Louis Choris
[fG420 K84 C6 1822 pl. II]

Louis Choris
VOYAGE PITTORESQUE AUTOUR DU MONDE, AVEC DES PORTRAITS DE SAUVAGES D'AMERIQUE, D'ASIE, D'AFRIQUE, ET DES ILES DU GRAND OCEAN; DES PAYSAGES, DES VUES MARITIMES, ET PLUSIEURS OBJETS D'HISTOIRE NATURELLE. Paris: Impr. de Firmin Didot, 1822.

Louis Choris, an artist-explorer of the nineteenth century, was an early example of individuals who produced documentary sketches in pencil and ink to supplement the written and artifact record of expeditions.

The engraving "Vue du Presidio Sn. Francisco" offers a stunning view of the hills, settlement, and harbor that are part of the northern California coast. The original drawing by Choris, clearly a source for the printed image, differs in several details. A careful review of both images reveals the types of changes that commonly occurred as original artwork was transferred to the printed page.

Louis Choris was born in the Ukraine, of German-Russian parents on March 22, 1795. Choris spent much of his formative years in Germany, and in 1815 he set sail from St. Petersburg, Russia on a voyage around the world. As Choris later wrote, "At scarcely twenty years of age, I went as a draftsman with this expedition, the expenses of which were covered by Count Romanzoff, [former] Chancellor of the Russian Empire . . . During the course of this voyage, which lasted three years, all the objects which struck my youthful imagination and my eyes were gathered and drawn by me, sometimes with the leisure permitted by an extended sojourn, sometimes with the rapidity made necessary by a short appearance."

After returning to Europe in 1818, Choris prepared watercolor drawings based upon his sketches. His lack of knowledge concerning the intaglio techniques of engraving, etching, and aquatints produced what have been described as "rigid results."

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