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Sign for Wedgwood's Inn
1827-1836
Paint on pine board and frame, iron hardware
Primary Dimensions (height x width including hardware): 51 1/2 x 29 1/4in. (130.8 x 74.3cm) Other (height x width of sign only): 50 3/4 x 29 1/4in. (128.9 x 74.3cm)
Credit Line: Collection of Morgan B. Brainard, Gift of Mrs. Morgan B. Brainard
Gallery Copy: The origins of this unusual sign remain ambiguous. No Connecticut innkeeper named Wedgwood has been identified, but the name is common in the area of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Both sides of the sign display at least two layers of imagery, which are badly worn and difficult to disentangle. The upper layer image on this side displays a meeting house with a codfish weather vane, a decorative feature usually associated with coastal areas from Boston north to Maine.
Description: Images: On side 1, meeting house with steeple, flanked by small trees, over a (possibly incomplete) landscape with at least one tree. On side 2, landscape scene with large tree on left, overhanging house on right, over a fully-rigged ship flying an American flag. Text: On both sides, on top rail, "1836" over "1827"; on bottom rail, "J. WEDGWOOD" over "J. Thomas" Construction: Single board, grain oriented vertically. Thick, flat, horizontal rails with pediment and skirt extensions; square posts with integral turned ends. The board is set into grooves in the rails and posts. Decorative moldings are run on the inner edge of the rails and applied molding strips are nailed toto the inside edges of the posts on both sides of the sign. The massive, two-inch-thick rails are tenoned through the posts and pinned. The top joints are single-tenoned and the bottom joints double-tenoned. The top rail extends upward slightly into a central projection supporting a finial. The broad lower rail extends down and is sawn to form two rounded lobes.
Technique Note: This sign displays extensive paint loss. Scribe lines can be seen for the underlying name, which is evenly spaced. The upper date, "1836," is painted freehand in gold. The upper name is painted black, against a cream background; letters are uneven in spacing and poorly executed. Posts and upper rail are black. The leaves and branches of the trees flanking the meeting-house on side 1 appear to have been created by daubing with sponges or similar applicators.
Object Number: 1961.63.50
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