Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Inn and Tavern Signs of the Times

Between 1750 and 1850, more than 50,000 inn and tavern signs were produced by American painters, offering a rare glimpse today into the visual language, life, and the culture of America in its infancy.  You can still find these lovely works of art on the market and thanks to the Internet they are much easier to find today.  Antique dealers are a great source and the rarest can be seen in museums like the Connecticut Historical Society's Collection.

This sign, dated to 1823, is one such example.  The term "resort" was still new when Jared Carter first advertised his establishment.  It implied destination rather than just necessary accommodations.  (photo is from the Ct. Historical Society web site).

You can sometimes find old signs in antique stores at a reasonable price.  We found two (one in Maryland and the other in Virginia) that decorate a bath room and the entrance way to the barn). 

This is a great way to decorate a farm house, a den, a study, even a kitchen and add some history at the same time. Here a few examples I found:

Here is a pub in England with the signs in tact:

Some of these signs probably made it over from the "old country" but they are just as lovely. Have a great Tuesday!

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