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Sign for Carter's Inn
about 1823
Paint on pine board and moldings, blue smalt, gold leaf, iron hardware
Primary Dimensions (height x width including hardware): 26 1/2 x 42 1/2in. (67.3 x 108cm) Other (height x width of sign only ): 23 3/4 x 42 1/2in. (60.3 x 108cm)
Credit Line: Gift of the heirs of Morgan B. Brainard
Gallery Copy: The term “resort” was new in the lexicon of American inn signs when Jared Carter first advertised his establishment in 1823. It implied a destination rather than mere accommodation. A series of resorts sprung up along the coast of Connecticut, offering salt air and seafood as alternatives to the mineral waters popular at inland resort areas like Saratoga. Looking at the image of an officer and a well-dressed gentleman sitting down to a meal together, Carter clearly aimed at an elegant, wealthy clientele, even if they were “strangers” before arriving.
Description: Images: On side 1, two men drinking at table. On side 2, a couple with a driver in a carriage pulled by two horses. No underlying images. Text: On both sides, above the image, "STRANGERS, RESORT"; below the image, "J, CARTER". No underlying text. Construction: Single board, grain oriented horizontally. Applied moldings, mitered in corners, nailed to the outside edges. No structural frame, no pediment or skirt.
Technique Note: Surface notes. Details in the images were thinly and delicately painted, with gold leaf used to highlight such details as buttons, epaulets, the tray beneath the decanter. Unfortunately, the application of varnish dulled the metal. The letters were laid out with stencils and less expertly executed than the images. The ground is grayish-white. The smalt on this sign was the largest and most three dimensional of any sign in the collection, measuring roughly 1/16" to 1/8" in diameter. Historical Note: Original location. Carter's inn was located in what was then the First Society of Killingworth, at the crossroads of the Middletown Turnpike and the post road from New York to Boston, along the Connecticut shore. Carter sold the property in 1828, and the structure is now gone; the site can be identified as the southwest corner of Commerce and Main Street. This section of Killingworth incorporated as Clinton in 1838.
Object Number: 1971.30.1
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