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Sign for Blatchly's Inn
Original Owner:Originally owned by Moses Blatchly Jr. , American, 1762 - 1826
Maker:Maker Unknown
Paint on pine board, unidentified hardwood frame, iron hardware
Primary Dimensions (height x width including hardware): 39 x 27in. (99.1 x 68.6cm) Other (height x width of sign only): 35 1/4 x 23 3/4in. (89.5 x 60.3cm)
Credit Line: Collection of Morgan B. Brainard. Gift of Mrs. Morgan B. Brainard.
Gallery Copy: The history of the Blatchly sign is difficult to reconstruct. It evidently displays two layers of 18th-century artwork, which were jumbled together in a 20th-century repainting by an unidentified restorer. The earliest painted surface indicates that this sign was made in 1788 and originally depicted a ship labeled “The Charming Patrones[s],” which is still visible under certain light and at certain angles. The later image depicts a female allegorical figure representing Justice holding a set of scales.
Description: Images: both sides have two layers of imagery: on side 1, an allegorical female figure of Justice, over a fully-rigged sailing vessel; on side 2, an American flag, over a standing figure of a sailor leaning on an anchor, framed by panels of drapery. Construction: Single board, with single, molded, horizontal rails and turned posts. Board is set vertically and hand-sawn at top and bottom to create decorative pediment and skirt profiles. Board passes through full-width mortise cut through each rail and is held by nails. The rails are tenoned through the turned posts and secured at each joint by one pin. An original half-round applique is added at top of the pediment. Surface: Early twentieth-century restoration included complete overpainting of the allegorical figure on side 1, using heavy, opaque, shiny paints on both figure and lettering. Repainting confused the sign by making simultaneously visible text from both eighteenth-century layers. Posts and rails were painted a bright turquoise blue, with a blue and red border added to the signboard.
Inscription: Text: both sides have multiple layers of text, which are quite difficult to disentangle: on side 1, the pediment has two dates, "1794" over [1788], and one name, "M. BLATCHLY"; the skirt has one legend, "ENTERTAINMENT / M.B."; the main part of the sign has two legends, "The Scale of Justis", which presumably refers to the upper image of the allegorical figure, and "The Charming PatroNnes", which presumably refers to the lower image of the sailing vessel. On side 2, the pediment has only one discernible date and name, "1794 / M. BLATCHLY"; the skirt has only one legend, "ENTERTAINMENT"; the main part of the sign has two legends, "The Cantine," which presumably corresponds to the upper image of the flag, and "Hope on the Anchor", which presumably refers to the lower image of the sailor.
Object Number: 1961.63.10
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