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Sign for Williams's Inn
1803-1826
Original Owner:Originally owned by Benjamin Williams , American
Paint on pine board, unidentified hardwood columns, possibly maple, gold leaf, iron hardware
Primary Dimensions (height x width including hardware): 57 3/4 x 35 1/8in. (146.7 x 89.2cm) Other (height x width of sign only): 54 3/4 x 35 1/8in. (139.1 x 89.2cm)
Credit Line: Collection of Morgan B. Brainard, Gift of Mrs. Morgan B. Brainard
Gallery Copy: As road conditions improved, stagecoaches made travel easier and more affordable for more people. Stagecoaches traveled predetermined routes at scheduled times (like public buses today) and typically carried 9-12 people crowded onto 3 or 4 bench seats. Women travelled by coach but rarely without a male escort. The image on this sign, however, was apparently designed for a horizontal sign format—oops!
Description: Images: On side 1, exterior scene of stage coach with two horses, off-center in oval outline, over a central rising sun. On side 2, interior scene of one man seated at a table with decanters and drinking glasses (presently illegible but documented photographically in 1900). Text: On both sides, in pediment, "1826." over "1803"; in name band below image, "H.W." over earlier initials, not decipherable. Construction: Two boards, grain oriented vertically. Thin, bullnosed, horizontal rails, and fluted, columnar posts. The two boards are joined with four dowels, which appear to be original. The frame is ornamental rather than structural, and is unusual in that it is not tenoned together. Instead, the posts pass through square holes in the rails, which are held in place by nails. Pediment is a separate board, grain oriented horizontally, hand-sawn to create decorative profile and nailed to top rail. Applied moldings, mitered at corners, are nailed to both faces of board. Thin bullnose strips are nailed to side edges of board.
Technique Note: The ground of the upper paint layer is gray-white. The dotted oval outlines continue onto edges of adjacent moldings. The underlying layer of paint on the pediment featured an elaborate foliage design, now painted over. Historical Note: Original location. Located in Centerbrook center, along the Middlesex turnpike, which ran from Hartford to Saybrook, and about a mile and one-half west of the Connecticut River landings.
Object Number: 1961.63.48
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