This highly decorative, large format broadside advertises the Turner Brothers Wines & Spirits enterprise, a major American concern with national distribution capabilities that operated from 1847 until the mid-1860s. The upper vignette features a view of their premier store in New York City, located at 350-352 Washington Street, at the corner of Franklin (Soho / Tribeca), while below is a view of their establishment in Buffalo, where the business was founded.
In the lower part of the composition is a fine panorama of San Francisco (where Turner Brothers had established a store), taken from a south-easterly perspective (perhaps the Rincon Hill area), looking towards Telegraph Hill, with the bustling downtown and harbour in the foreground. It is lovely depiction of San Francisco captured in the immediate wake of the Gold Rush, as well as a rare early work of California wine interest.
The work is bordered by attractive vine leaf designs containing roundels with portraits of each of the six Turner Brothers who were partners in the company.
All such ephemeral broadsides have an incredibly low serval rate, the present work is very rare; we have not been able to trace another example.
The Turner Brothers Wines & Sprits Company was a brilliantly successful, albeit short-lived, alcohol and medicinal spirits empire. The enterprise was founded in 1847 in Buffalo by the six Turner Brothers (Malcolm, James, Thomas, Archibald, Robert and George), who were originally from Delaware County, New York, the children of Scottish immigrants. They traded in wines and manufactured their own sodas, ginger and berry wines and medicinal sprits. Their business enjoyed rapid success, and they soon opened a large store and factory in New York City. James ran the establishment in Buffalo; Malcom oversaw the New York premises; while Robert ran the show in San Francisco; the other brothers remained partners but were less active in the day-to-day business.
Taking advantage of the massive wealth generated by the California Gold Rush, in 1853, the Turner Brothers opened a store in San Francisco, where they were one of the boomtown’s earliest major distributors of alcohol.
After making a large fortune, the brothers sold the business in the mid-1860s, and subsequent to that the assets traded under different names. The brothers then used the proceeds to establish the Turner Brothers Bank, headquartered in New York City, seeking to take advantage of the international railway boom. This initially proved successful, and they soon opened branches in Berlin, Paris and London. However, during the Panic of 1873, the railway boom went bust, and the Turner bank filed for bankruptcy in 1876. While the brothers personally retained some of their wealth, only Archibald re-emerged as a prominent player, serving as president of several New York banks over the coming years.
References: N / A – Rare.