Joseph Britton - Co-Founder of Britton and Rey The Prominent Lithography Studio in San Francisco During the Gold Rush Era

(No reviews yet) Write a Review
Adding to cart… The item has been added

1895, California. 14" x 12 ¼". Stock certificate for 10 shares in the San Francisco & San Joaquin Valley Railway Co. Green/Black. Litho. Issued to and signed on verso by Joseph Britton. Signed on the front stub indicating receipt of the certificate by Jacques-Joseph Rey. Attached adhesive revenue stamps on front. Considered by many to be California's foremost early printers, Britton & Rey was one of the largest producers of lithographs, stocks, and all manner of printed items. The printing firm of Britton & Rey was undoubtedly the largest producer of lithographs in California, the seller's description continues. The two men were the Currier & Ives of the West, resembling that famous combination not only in the volume of their production but in their personal relationship as well. Joseph Britton was an Englishman, born in Yorkshire in 1825. At ten years of age he came to America and lived in New York until he was twenty-four. As a young man he apparently worked there as a lithographer, for in 1847 there was issued a music sheet, "The Shepard's Cottage," from J. Britton at 559 Hudson Street. In 1849 the lure of the California Gold Rush struck him and he joined the George Gordon party, the first gold seekers to make the journey by way of Lake Nicaragua. He went directly to the gold fields and prospected until he became discouraged by his lack of success and returned to San Francisco. There, in 1852, he formed a partnership with C.J. Pollard. The association was short-lived, however, for in the same year he set up business as a lithographer with J.J. Rey. Jacques-Joseph Rey was born in Bouxviller, Alsace, in 1820. As a young man he studied art and lithography. About 1850 he went by way of Panama to California, where, contrary to the custom of those days, he did not seek his fortune in the mines. Just what he did at first is not definitely known, but 1852 finds him entering into partnership with Joseph Britton. Three years later he married Britton's sister, thus cementing a friendship and partnership which accounts for some of the most notable lithography done in California. Joseph Britton remained a bachelor all his life. He lived always with the Rey family, a sign of the closeness of the two gentlemen's friendship. In their lithographic business, Rey was undoubtedly the artist of the firm while Britton remained the businessman.