Antiques often help us put the missing links of the past together and give us a better insight into an era that was once forgotten. In this case, the link is made nearly 130 years later.
In March 2010, Witherell’s Auctioneers & Appraisers featured a set of rare documents and lithographs, belonging to Grafton Tyler Brown. One of the items in this lot was a catalogue from June 25th, 1883 which lists a number of paintings that Brown painted in Canada. The paintings depict sceneries from various locations of British Columbia, and the catalogue gives short descriptions of these locations.
Today, Witherell’s announced that they have discovered a number of photographic plates that correspond to the paintings that were listed in this catalogue. Estimated at $300-500 each, the plates will be featured in their upcoming Antiques and Fine Arts Auction, which will be live through November 1-15.
This plate in particular could be seen in the only known image of Grafton Tyler Brown, likely taken by the photographer of the catalogue.
Brown (1841–1918) was an African American cartographer, lithographer, and painter. Born to a family of freed slaves in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Brown taught himself the art of lithography at the age of 20. Soon after, he migrated to San Fransisco to seek better economic and social opportunities, and he eventually established his own lithography business. In 1882, he moved to Victoria, British Columbia for a short period of time. After he came back to United States in 1884, he worked as a painter and a draftsman in various cities in the northwest. Brown died in Minnesota in 1918.