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Sign for Hayden's Inn
Original Owner:Originally owned by Uriah Hayden , American, 1732-1808
Original Owner:Originally owned by Ann Starkey , American, 1736 - 1813
Painter:Painted by Unknown
Paint (traces remaining) on yellow or tulip poplar board, with pine frame and iron hardware
Primary Dimensions (height x width including hardware): 46 x 33in. (116.8 x 83.8cm) Other (height x width of sign only): 42 x 30 7/8in. (106.7 x 78.4cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Miss Susan M. Loomis
Gallery Copy: Although it is very hard to see now, this weathered sign once had an elaborate image of a three-masted ship under full sail and flying a British flag. Uriah Hayden ran one of the busiest shipyards on the Connecticut River, making a ship a natural emblem for his inn, rather than the simpler and more common black horse motifs of the time. The painted areas of the sign were better protected than the background, which has worn away, leaving the image in relief. Unlike many 18th-century signs, this one escaped later repainting.
Description: Image on front: a three-masted frigate, known locally as the "Old Ship", centered on board. Image on back: an English royal coat of arms, centered on board. No underlying images. Construction: Single board; double, molded horizontal rails; turned posts. Board is set vertically and hand-sawn at top and bottom to create decorative pediment and skirt profiles; board is held by nails between paired molded rails. Each rail is tenoned into the turned posts and secured with two pins. The rails of this sign differ from those in other two Saybrook group signs, in that the orientation of the lower rail molding repeats rather than reverses the profile of the upper rail. Style analysis suggests that this example is the second of the three made by this unknown maker, a chronology confirmed by the documentary evidence on tavern licensing. Wood used Liriodendron tulipifera, yellow or tulip poplar, for the central panel; and Pinus strobus, eastern white pine, for the rails and turned posts; identified by analysis (Hoadley, March 2000).
Historical Note: The original location of this sign is a two-story frame dwelling, built in 1766, at the foot of Main Street, on the Connecticut River bank in what is now the village of Essex. The building survives and is now owned by the Dauntless Club. At least two reproductions of the old sign have hung in front of the club, the earlier installed before 1937, and a new one created about 1999. Maker Note: Although the specific maker is unknown, this is attributed to a Saybrook sign maker active about 1749 to 1771.
Inscription: On both sides, on pediment, are two sets of initials, "VHA" over "IAR". Under the image is the word, "Entertainment". On the apron are two dates, "1766" over "1762".
Object Number: 1896.7.0
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