|Design for a Sign for The Crown Inn|
The Victoria & Albert Museum
While, these days, we associate the look of a hanging sign with public houses (pubs), in the Eighteenth Century, in Britain, most businesses displayed them as a means of alerting customers to their location. The signs were designed with few, or often no, words and relied on colorful graphics and images which would have been easily comprehended by the public at large, most of whom could not read.
Not known for their subtlety, these signs left no question as to the name of the establishment. We can deduce that this design was intended to advertise The Crown Inn. This sketch shows a proposed look for the sig and includes preliminary pencil sketches of three different crowns, one of which is placed upon a cushion.
The sheet has also been “squared up” to ensure that the design could easily be reproduced on the larger wooden signboard.
This drawing is one of 35 further designs by the same anonymous hand which have been collected by the V&A. It was completed in oil, bodycolor and pencil on paper and shows a gold crown with fleur-de-lys, gems, ermine and red velvet. It was finished in London around 1750.