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Sign for Pettibone's Tavern
1816-1824
Original Owner:Originally owned by Jonathan Pettibone Jr. , American, 1741 - 1826
Paint on pine board and moldings, gold leaf, iron hardware
Primary Dimensions (height x width including hardware): 44 7/8 x 55 1/4in. (114 x 140.3cm) Other (height x width of sign only): 43 x 55 1/4in. (109.2 x 140.3cm)
Credit Line: Collection of Morgan B. Brainard, Gift of Mrs. Morgan B. Brainard
Gallery Copy: Jonathan Pettibone’s tavern was strategically located at the crossing of the Farmington River. It was built in 1780, burned in 1800, and was subsequently rebuilt. The sign was repaired and completely repainted after incurring hurricane damage in 1938. The current version has 48 stars (the number of states in the Union in 1939), rather than the original seventeen (the number of states from 1803-12.) Comparing the format and image of the eagle to the Daniel Loomis’s Inn sign (1961.63.34) reveals why scholars attribute the original design to William Rice.
Description: Images: On both sides, eagle based on the United States seal, with forty-eight stars overhead. Text: On both sides, above the image, "PETTIBONE'S", below the image, "1780 TAVERN." Construction: One or more boards, grain oriented horizontally, are set within channels in the side, or upright, molding elements, which are nailed in place. The ends of the top and bottom moldings are cut to the shape of the inside contour of the side moldings, so that the side moldings can slide over the ends as the large signboard expands and contracts across the grain with changes in humidity (see fig. 18 for detail of this characteristic feature, on another Rice sign).
Technique Note: Surface notes. Thick coats of modern paint cover all surfaces. The present forty-eight stars were stencilled and have five points each. The earlier stars had eight points each. Traces of similar stars in slightly different locations are visible throughout the field above the eagle. The word "TAVERN" is executed in italic, the other text in Roman lettering. Some gold leaf appears on the eagle. Historical Note: Original location. Jonathan Pettibone's tavern was strategically located at the crossing of the Farmington River, at the intersection of the road to Hartford with the main north-south road traversing the Farmington River Valley from Farmington to Granby (now Rt. 10). According to local histories, the structure was originally built about 1780, burned about 1800, and was subsequently rebuilt. It reportedly served as a stop on the Underground Railroad. It was acquired by Mrs. Sargent-Tilney in 1919 and restored for renewed use as an inn. In 2000, it was the Chart House restaurant, on the northeast corner of Routes 10 and 185. After an incident with a fire and the sprinker system on 3 January 2008, the building was closed for renovations, opening in late 2008 under new owners and management as Abigail's Grill and Wine Bar.
Inscription: On both sides, above the image, "PETTIBONE'S", below the image, "1780 TAVERN."
Object Number: 1961.63.40
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