Works in the Collection
Grafton Tyler Brown was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1841, the child of freedmen from Maryland. At age 14, he acquired his first lithography skills while working for a Philadelphia printer. In the 1860s, Brown relocated to San Francisco and worked as a lithographer for Kuchel & Dressel. In 1867, he purchased and renamed the firm G.T. Brown & Co., continuing his work documenting the gold rush towns of the region. He is best known for The Illustrated History of San Francisco, a collection of topographical images of San Francisco completed in 1878. In the early 1880s, Brown sold his company and moved to Victoria, British Columbia, to participate in the Amos Bowman Geological Survey. In 1884, he returned to the U.S. and settled in Portland, Oregon. There he began painting landscapes of the region, highlighting such landmarks as Mt. Rainier, Yellowstone National Park, and Yosemite National Park. Brown promoted his work heavily, and his paintings became popular with tourists and residents of the region. He died in 1918, and would not be respected as a fine artist by collectors until years after his death.