A spectacular paint-specimen broadside

Wadsworth, Martinez & Longman / Trember[?] Lith., SPECIMENS OF HOUSE PAINTING. / PURE PREPARED PAINTS. [6th and North 9th and 10th Streets, Brooklyn, NY, perhaps ca. 1880s but before 1885] .
Two-color lithographic backdrop with eight 5 ¾"h x 5 ¼"w pasted-on lithographic vignettes of a Victorian home, surrounding a central 9 ½"h x 11 ¼"w pasted-on lithographic vignette of another home. Each in a different color scheme and surmounting a pasted-on chip bearing matching paint samples. The whole ca. 31 ½"h x 25"w and housed in a period frame, with the backing replaced.

This amazing broadside is a far more ornate and attractive version of marketing collateral that could be found today in any Home Depot or Lowe’s. It features nine vignettes of Victorian homes, set against a complex background of foliate and geometric elements. The vignettes are arranged in a rosette pattern, with eight identical homes radiating from a larger, central home on a different design. Each bears a different color scheme and is accompanied by paint chips showing the colors used on the sides, trim, roof and window sashes. The construction of the broadside is particularly complex, as each vignette and paint sample is pasted on individually.

The firm of Wadsworth, Martinez & Longman seems to have been established in Brooklyn in the early 1850s, with Wadsworth either passing away or leaving the partnership in 1885. The successor firm of Martinez & Longman prospered and moved their headquarters and showroom to 207 Pearl Street in Manhattan. One source describes them as follows:

“They manufacture extensively all kinds of paints, oils, and varnishes, and make a specialty of producing fine prepared paints…. The trade of Messrs. Longman & Martinez extends throughout all sections of the United States, while they likewise export large quantities of their splendid paints to Canada, Mexico, the West Indies, Central and South America.” (Illustrated New York: The Metropolis of Today)

All in all a most attractive, unusual and very rare display piece, which likely hung in the shop of a distributor or perhaps even in the manufacturer’s own showroom.


Some gentle toning to varnish, with scattered cracks and tears, the largest extending diagonally across lower-right corner.