Chromolithographic promotional for Neville and Company of San Francisco

Chromolithograph, 20”h x 26 ½”w at neat line plus margins. Small discoloration at lower center, bit of wear along old folds, and minor soiling and creasing in margins. Very good.


A spectacular chromolithographic promotional broadside for the San Francisco firm of Neville & Company, a manufacturer and distributor of bags, tents, canvas, cotton, and other cloth products. 

The earliest mention I find for Neville & Company is an ad for “White Pine Tents” offered at Neville & Co.’s Flour Bag Depot, 113 Clay Street. (Daily Alta California,Vol. 21, No. 7002, (May 21, 1869)) By 1879 the firm had prospered sufficiently to move to new premises in the Hansford Block at the intersection of California and Davis Streets.  At the time they were described as

“… not only the leading one on this coast, but compar[ing] favorably with the best Eastern houses, and in some respects surpass[ing] them. Neville and Co. deal in all descriptions of bags and bagging materials; also in all the manufactures of canvas from a large tent to a yard of hose, or an oil-cloth hat for a sailor, or a nose bag for a horse. They furnish sacks for flour, meal, salt, and other articles, handsomely printed with manufacturer’s designs and trademarks. In short, their business covers everything which properly pertains to bags and bagging, to duck and canvas, to cotton and to linen goods of lighter weight.” (Pacific Rural Press, vol. 17 no. 2 p. 21)

Despite some major hardships, including a devastating fire in 1890 and an acrimonious dissolution of the partnership of George H. Bryant and Mrs. S.A. Neville, Neville & Company survived for almost forty years. In 1906 it was purchased for some $400,000 and merged with Ames, Harris Co. (San Francisco Call, vol. 99 no. 84 (Feb. 22, 1906)

This striking promotional features a central chromolithographic vignette of a well-to-do woman lounging in a hammock along a riverbank, with what appears to be San Francisco Bay in the far background. Arrayed before her are a festive-looking tent and bales containing a range of other Neville & Co. products.  Radiating from the vignette is a symmetrical design featuring dozens of flags representing Marryat’s and Rogers’ competing signal systems and dozens of larger flags of trading nations as far afield as Argentina, the Sandwich Islands, Siam, and Zanzibar.  The whole is surrounded by an appealing geometric border, and the side margins feature poorly-written Chinese characters reiterating Neville & Co.’s address and product list.

I not located another example of this image.  Indeed, a search in OCLC for “Neville & Co.” yields only two illustrated catalogs, both printed by H.S. Crocker & Co., one dated 1890 and held at UC-Berkeley, the other 1903 and in the Huntington Library collection.

Not in OCLC.