Monday, 29 November 2010

Sandeman (Port and Brandy), Lisbon

Earlier this month I mentioned that while walking along the streets of Lisbon I came across a few adverts painted on glass. The first couple can be seen outside a convenience store and promote two of Sandeman's famous products: Port wine and brandy from Jerez.
The Sandeman website has several pages dedicated to the history and iconography of this company founded in 1790 by Scotsman George Sandeman (you must be 18 or older to visit it).
The brand is easily recognisable thanks to the powerful image of the Don, "dressed like the Spanish caballeros de Jerez in a Portuguese student’s cape and wide-brimmed hat". It was created in 1928 by George Massiot Brown, a Scottish artist who, given the fame of French poster artists at the time, signed his work "George Massiot" only.

The Don was originally created to advertise Port wine. His black image contrasted with the ruby of the glass of Port and the sunny background. However he became so popular that by the 1930s his image was being used to promote Sandeman's other products such as its Capa Negra brandy from Jerez in Spain.

The label on the bottle is particularly fine.

In a corner at the bottom of this glass advert is the name of the manufacturer

"T." stands for "Travessa". The premises, in the Chiado district of the Portuguese capital, are now occupied by a fashion shop.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

W. Heslop, Oxford Street

The ghost sign below reappeared when three buildings near Tottenham Court Road were demolished. Unfortunately I haven't found any information about W. Heslop. Maybe a book with old photographs of Oxford Street could shed some light on this business. I shall keep you posted if I come across something.

W. Heslop

Given that this sign was painted on a portion of wall relatively far away from the street, the buildings next door must have been pretty low; otherwise nobody could have seen it.

Location: Oxford Street / Picture taken on: 24/11/2010

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Private lock ups and taxis, Havant

On the side of a building are two ghost signs that stand out thanks to the decorative foliage in the corners and the middle of the upper one and the unusual shape of the lower one.

The upper sign was painted twice. The original sign advertized a

The more recent one reads
Lock Ups

The sign below was painted three times but only the most recent layer can be read:

It's a shame the lower part has completely disappeared.

Location: South Street, Havant, Hampshire / Picture taken on: 30/05/2010

Friday, 19 November 2010

Highgate Optical Manufacturing Co., Hornsey

I haven't found much information about the Highgate Optical Manufacturing Company, whose offices were located at St George's House, 44 Hatton Garden, in Clerkenwell. It produced spectacles frames, glasses, sunglasses and possibly some optical parts for photographers or photo studios. In the 1950s its range of spectacles for ladies included the 'Sonata' model, one pair of which is now in the collection of the College of Optometrists. It is possible the company was founded after the war as the first mention dates from 1947, when it exposed its products at the British Industries Fair held at Olympia exhibition centre. Then the name appears in several ophtalmology and photography journals published in the 1960s and 1970s, the last one dating from 1978.
The company had two factories: one in Lewisham, and one in Hornsey, where the ghost sign below can be seen.

46 Co.

Actually this was painted over one if not two earlier signs. Several letters can be seen here and there, including some written diagonally, but the gaps are too big to make any sense. At the bottom are the letters

Below the name of the company, a nice roundel with a manicule (a pointed hand) indicated the way to the goods entrance to truck drivers and delivery men.

Location: Tottenham Lane / Pictures taken on: 19/10/2010

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Panaderia Neptuno, Havana

Naming a bakery after the Roman god of water and the sea may seem a bit strange (Ceres, the goddess of agriculture and grain crops could have been more appropriate) but actually, this shop takes its name from the street it is in.

Inside, customers can get not only bread at a fixed subsidized price in Cuban pesos (see the second part of an earlier post), but also other bakery products, which are not available with the ration book, and are sold at free market prices. As one can easily imagine, these "luxury goods", such as the croissant Neptune holds in his hand, can be extremely costly for those on an average wage and without access to hard currency. Provided, of course, that they are available in the first place!

ofertas de
24 horas
Offers of
At Free Market Prices
Open 24 Hours

8 is not the street number (which is 118) but the number allocated to this outlet in the local trade register.

Location: Calle Neptuno, Havana / Pictures taken on: 05/04/2010

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

W. J. Perry, Sutton

Located at the northern end of Sutton High Street, Perry the fruiterer had this sign painted twice. Indeed originally the name was written horizontally. However traces of other words here and there would suggest another advert had been previously painted on this wall.

W. J.
High Class
Waited on Daily

Location: High Street / Picture taken on: 27/08/2009

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Redfern's rubber heels, Fulham

After posting an advert for Redfern's rubber mats and a bit about the company's history five months ago, here is a sign promoting their rubber heels. Contrary to most signs for Redfern still visible in London, which were painted on large blind walls, this well-preserved example stands above the entrance and display windows of what was certainly a shoe shop.

Save Money
In Fulham For
Make Walking
A Pleasure

Location: Munster Road / Picture taken on: 17/04/2008

Monday, 15 November 2010

Woodcraft, Twickenham

A very simple sign, now partly hidden by the roof next door.


Location: Laurel Avenue / Picture taken on: 21/05/2008

Friday, 12 November 2010

Dairy shop, Lisbon

I just came back from Lisbon, where I saw only a handful of walls with very basic painted signs. However there are countless adverts on azulejos - painted tiles - plus a few on glass, and over the next weeks and months, I shall have the pleasure of presenting some of them.

Azulejos were introduced in Portugal in the fifteenth century. Originally they were used to decorate and lower temperatures in palaces and churches but as production techniques evolved and costs diminished, they began appearing in individual houses, public places and shops. The use of azulejos for advertising purposes developed in the late nineteenth century. Even though a few companies, such as Firestone, had relatively high numbers of azulejos manufactured to advertise their products, the vast majority of commercial azulejos were commissioned to decorate and promote specific shops or businesses. Some businesses in both Portugal and Spain still have some made especially for them but the heyday of the commercial azulejos was between the turn of the twentieth century and the 1950s.

The example below can be found by the front window of what used to be a dairy (literally a "milk and butter shop"). Unfortunately the lower part of the panel of azulejos below, which bore the name of the shop, has been damaged and a plain white tile has been used to replace a missing one. At least the ideal country scene, in typical blue and white colours, is still intact.



Could the name of the shop have been A Garota (The Girl)? The presence of a joyful farm girl could lead us to think so.

The Museu Nacional do Azulejo in the former Convento da Madre de Deus, had a book (in Portuguese) about commercial azulejos but the text was rather disappointing and although some of the pictures were nice enough, I thought the price tag was really excessive.

Location: Rua de São José, Lisbon / Pictures taken on: 06/11/2010

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Baker & pastry cook, Catford

Why were such small letters used when there is so much space? Actually this sign was painted on at least two occasions but the main part, including the name of the store, has almost disappeared.

Sangley [*]
Baker & Pastry Cook
All Goods Handmade
On the Premises
Bread and Rolls
Fresh Daily

*: I am not absolutely sure this is correct. The letters that can still be seen in the upper fifth of the sign are "S...LEY". Since Sangley Road runs nearby, that seems a reasonable assumption. However it doesn't seem to belong to the sign advertising the bakery and may well have been promoting a completely different business altogether as another line at least was written with the same font further down at the same level as "Baker & Pastry Cook". A closer look at the upper part also shows a line was written in red. My guess is this was the name of the baker.

Location: Muirkirk Road / Picture taken on: 23/07/2009