A Pair of c.1900 Reverse Glass Painted Publican Advertising Signs for Irish Rums

Origin: English
Period: Late Victorian
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1900
Height: 5.25”
Width: 26.75”
Depth: 0.25” (each)

The wonderfully decorative high Victorian reverse glass painted signwritten advertising signs for Irish Rums, one with shaped ends, the gold three-dimensional block script painted on black highlights, to a green coloured ground, each with modern hanging fixtures and surviving from the zeniths of the nineteenth century.

The signs show their age which is attractive and there has been no attempt to repaint or restore the worn areas where the green ground colour is largely absent. These signs were probably part of a saloon door in a public house.

The popularity of glass as a building material and for decoration in particular increased after the Great Exhibition of 1851, the centrepiece of which, the Crystal Palace, used glass with great extravagance. A technique known as ‘back-painting’ became popular in the 1870s and brought rich colour into play, as we see with this example.

Paintings which have been reverse painted on glass have the picture or information painted on the back of the glass so that it can be seen the correct way round from the front and is protected by the glass. It is a technique that has been used for portrait and landscape paintings which were then framed, for advertisements often on mirrors such as these, and for decorating the inside of bottles.

A beautifully decorative pair of signs and perfect for those who like a visit to the inn.