Seal Rocks


Stereoview 2048 (click here for crosseyed viewing) by Northern California photographer Carleton Watkins, captioned "Sea Lions, West End, Farallone Islands, P.O.", is from a series of Farallon Islands undated Watkins stereoviews (2001-2078). The Getty Museum dates several cards in the series (e.g., Watkins 2058) as "about 1867". I.W. Taber acquired Watkins' negatives in 1874 when Watkins went bankrupt. Taber published Watkins 2048 as an unnumbered Taber stereoview, captioned "At the Cliff House, Seal Rocks, San Francisco", and also as photo Taber B2191, captioned "The Seal Rocks near Cliff House, San Francisco". Elite 102 is the same photo published by Elite Photo. identifies the Taber stereoview as "Mistitled Farallone Islands view number 2048". My opinion is that the Farallon location in the earlier Watkins 2048 caption is correct and Taber's Cliff House location is incorrect, probably changed by Taber for marketing purposes.

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These four postcards and eight other cards below all use the Watkins image. None of them credit Watkins or Taber. If the original image is from the Farallons, the Cliff House/Seal Rocks captions on all these cards are incorrect.

Weidner Catalog shows five Weidner 39 variants:

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These cards from other publishers show the same Watkins image.

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These four Mitchell 2 variants also show the same Watkins image.

This animated GIF overlays the cards shown above on the Taber photo for comparison.

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The image on these cards is strikingly similar to the Watkins image used above, but the seals are positioned differently. I have searched without success for a Watkins or Taber original of this image.

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These cards show different images of Seal Rocks.

Weidner Catalog shows four Weidner 115 variants:

Steve's SF postcard pages: