A Late-19thC Folk Art Painted Metal Milliners Trade Sign formed as a Top Hat; Annie Gold; French Milliner; Spitalfields, London

Origin: English
Period: Late Victorian
Provenance: Annie Gold; French Milliner; Spitalfields, London
Date: c.1889-1892
Height: 9.75”
Width: 14”
Depth: 16.5”

The hand cut and riveted sheet metal shop or trade sign in the form of black top hat, showing an good aged patina and retaining the original paint, of high crowned form, the whole hailing from the milliners shop of Annie Gold, 42 Brushfield Street, Spitalfields, London, in the latter part of the nineteenth century.

The sign is in good overall order, the piece is undeniably very decorative with a nice texturised surface. The piece doesn’t show any evidence of repairs or particular damage other than some rusting and slight bending to the rim.

Built in the 1780's, the four-storey Grade II-listed house of 42 Brushfield Street has been home in the past to diamond-cutters, furriers, boot makers, drapers, book-binders and Amelia Gold, an Hungarian Jew who ran a French millinery business. Her 1880's sign written frontage was still visible across the frontage until recently where it has unfortunately been painted over, much to the horror of locals. In 2000 Ian and Safia Thomas created a unique delicatessen on the ground floor, taking its name from Amelia Gold.

Annie Gold and her husband Jacob arrived in London in the late 19th century as Jewish Polish Russian Immigrants from Eastern Europe. They were one couple of tens of thousands who arrived into Spitalfields during that time, fleeing persecution. Annie set up her shop, a French Milliner; hat makers which would’ve been in good company with the concentration of fabric trade in Spitalfields at that time. In the 1800s there were 65 independent, small businesses along Brushfield Street. They included a watchmaker, furriers, confectioners, cheesemonger, a fried fish dealer and an undertaker. Annie and Jacob were at the property from 1889 to 1892, living above their shop which dates this piece rather succinctly.

Very rare to find such an original folk art piece with such a solid provenance, from one of London’s famous streets; a gem.