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Sign for Abbe's Inn
about 1822
Painter:Painted by William Rice , American, 1777 - 1847
Painter:Repainted by Luther Terry Knight , American, born 1844
Original Owner:Originally owned by Daniel Abbe Jr. , American, 1775 - 1833
Paint on pine board and moldings, iron hardware
Primary Dimensions (height x width x depth x weight including hardware): 61 1/2 x 77 1/8 x 5 7/8in., 90lb. (156.2 x 195.9 x 14.9cm, 40.8kg)
Credit Line: Connecticut Historical Society collection
Gallery Copy: Measuring four and one-half feet high by over six feet wide, and weighing ninety pounds, this impressive sign is among the largest inn signs known. The immense lion on side 1 is approximately two-thirds life-size, occupying the entire signboard and leaving no room for a name band. At least four other signs inscribed or attributed to William Rice display this particular lion---facing directly toward the viewer, usually wild-eyed and chained, and standing on grass-tufted ground. Side 2 displays other characteristic Rice features, especially the framing oval, ornamented with alternating triglyphs and flowers, and thunderbolts in place of arrows in the eagle's claw. This sign, originally painted by William Rice, follows the artist’s pattern of a lion on one side and an eagle on the other. The chained lion suggests a menagerie setting or the traveling animal shows that were occasionally performed at taverns and inns. Such shows were one of the few places where an 18th- or early 19th-century New Englander might have encountered a live lion.
Description: Images: on side 1, a lion, with body in profile, head facing forward, wrapped in chains, standing on grass-tufted ground; on side 2: an eagle with U.S. shield and seventeen stars in the sky, inside a central oval outline. U.S. arms in the shield are painted over Connecticut arms. Text: none. Construction:
Historical Note: The object file contains a copy of the posting announcing William Arthur Abbe's auction to sell contents of his inn when he went out of business in 1918.
Object Number: 1986.221.0
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