KGHS Artifact Collection
Taking advantage of an unprecedented opportunity to expand our collection, KGHS recently acquired noted nineteenth-century artist Joseph Lee's 1871 depiction of what was Ross Landing and is now Kentfield. The painting is a rare and important view of central Marin County detailed with incredible accuracy.
The newly-acquired painting by noted nineteenth century artist Joseph Lee is a rare and important view of central Marin County made during a period when photography was still in its infancy. A painter typically takes some liberties in depicting a scene like this, but here Lee detailed the village of Ross Landing—what would become Kentfield in 1905—and its surrounding landscape with incredible accuracy. Ross Landing was the only town in the vicinity at that time: no Larkspur, Corte Madera or Greenbrae. It was a busy shipping port yet to be influenced by the coming railroad.
The painting provides us with a clear view from 150 years ago, a scene so vivid that one can almost walk down the dusty street and visit with the Smiths at their pioneer store, and walk over to the pristine valley that would soon become the Kent Estate under looming Mt. Tamalpais. Lee's artistry reveals not only a great talent but also a finely honed skill at depicting a place and point in time in a way that draws the viewer into the life and feeling of the scene. The painting is of great value to residents, historians and naturalists, and contributes to a California-wide base of knowledge and appreciation.