In 1849 the Californian gold rush started and the US Navy mounted a 4 year long, ambitious expedition to the Southern Hemisphere.
The expedition had been requested by the US Congress and had a wide ranging scientific objectives. For example, measuring how gravity varied with distance from the earth's centre by taking instruments to the high altitudes in the mountainous Andes.
During their leisure hours, the expedition was encouraged to observe interesting plants and animals. The artists involved drew these and on their return lithographs were made to document discoveries. These make make great conversation pieces! Imagine being asked "where does that come from?". You may reply, "oh, from a US naval expedition that set off in the year of the Californian gold rush."
Here are some of the hand coloured lithographs you to choose from. They are genuine antique prints, made in the period 1849-1853.