Rare Promotional Wine Broadside -- One of San Francisco's Largest Wine Manufactories of the 1850s
Rare pictorial broadside advertising Turner Brothers wines, syrups, and cordials, drawn by John Ffooks, lithographed by Major, Knapp & Sarony.
The view depicts the manufacturing facilities of Turner Brothers in New York City and Buffalo, along with a very early view of San Francisco. The lithograph is bordered by artfully-executed grape vines and vine leaves interspersed with small vignette portraits of the six Turner brothers.
The Turner Brothers Wines & Spirits Company was founded in 1847 by the six Turner Brothers, trading in wines and manufacturing their own sodas, ginger and berry wines, and medicinal spirits. After making a large fortune, the brothers sold the business in the mid-1860s, and subsequent to that, the assets traded under different names.
Dating The Broadside
The Broadside is undated, but there are several factors which create a range of possible dates.
The printing firm of Sarony, Major & Knapp operated from 1856 to about 1867. However, Reps notes only 5 printed views by the firm, dated from between 1856 and 1858. The firm imprint with the 449 Broadway address is most common between about 1856 to 1861.
The earliest advertisement for Turner Brothers Wine in California appeared in an advertisement for Lewis Teal of San Francisco (wine importer) in the January 11, 1856 Nevada Journal. By mid 1856, Turner Brothers was running their own advertising in California. By October 1856, they had published a full page advertisement in Colville's 1856-1857 San Francisco Directory, which includes the following listing at page 221:
Established in 1853, is the largest manufactory of the kind in the city, and is a branch of Turner & Brothers in New York.
In its earliest years, Turner Brothers employed and advertising campaign which promoted the use of the brothers portraits on the label of their bottles as a way of in distinguishing authentic Turner Brothers' products from counterfeiters. The present broadside includes portraits of the six brothers. This advertising campaign had largely ceased by about 1861.
The broadside shows three views, the firm buildings in New York City and Buffalo and very early view of San Francisco, which does not show the firm's building on Market Street, and relies on very early birdseye view of San Francisco, which seems to date to the mid to late 1850s.
Nothing could be located about the artist, John Ffooks.
Turner Brothers Wines
The Turner Brothers Wines & Spirits Company was founded in 1847 in Buffalo by the six Turner Brothers. They traded in wines and manufactured their own sodas, ginger and berry wines, and medicinal spirits. Their enterprise enjoyed rapid success and soon opened a large store and factory in New York City, with one brother overseeing each location. In 1853, they opened a store in San Francisco, taking advantage of the massive wealth generated by the California Gold Rush, where they became one of the earliest major distributors of alcohol in the boomtown.
After the Turner Brothers sold the wine business in the mid-1860s, they used the proceeds to establish the Turner Brothers Bank, headquartered in New York City, seeking to take advantage of the international railway boom. The bank opened branches in Berlin, Paris, and London and initially proved successful. However, during the Panic of 1873, the railway boom went bust, and the Turner bank filed for bankruptcy in 1876. Only Archibald re-emerged as a prominent player, serving as president of several New York banks over the coming years, while the brothers retained some of their wealth personally.
Little is known about the artist who drew the imagery, John Ffooks.
The broadside is apparently of the utmost rarity. It is not listed in Reps, OCLC or otherwise.
With the exception of this example, which was first offered for sale at Zisska & Lachner in November 2019 (Lot 2151), we find no other dealer or auction records.