1851 “San Francisco, Upper California” Lettersheet by Britton & Rey

This is a pictorial lettersheet view of the city and harbor of San Francisco. This lithograph was printed on grey wove paper, across a double sheet, by famed lithographers Britton & Rey in 1851.

The image is a view of San Francisco from Nob Hill east to the Bay. Telegraph Hill is to the left and a Methodist church is depicted in the center foreground. In the background, ships fill the bustling harbor. This was a very popular view, and copies are found with the Quirot imprint as well as the Britton & Rey variant. This impression, with Britton & Rey imprint, is more difficult to find than the Quirot imprint. 

The Britton & Rey firm of lithographers was the oldest west of the Rocky Mountains. They were based in San Francisco and produced a prodigious body of early California views. Very early on, Britton and Rey earned a reputation for consistently excellent workmanship. In his long article in California on Stone (pp. 62-89, author Baird comments that the partnership of Britton and Rey “accounts for some of the most notable lithography done in California from the first to the last of our story.”


Lithograph in good condition. Some staining in upper margins, extending into image, but not obscuring image.

This lithograph is artfully and archivally presented in a custom-built black wooden frame. Framed dimensions: 14 1/4" H x 25" W x 1" D.

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