An Early 20thC Hand-Painted Toleware Pleasure Boat Sign; ‘Skylark’

Origin: English
Period: Early 20thC
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1920
Width: 21”
Height: 8”

The beautifully time-worn sign-written hand painted toleware sign for the Skylark, hailing from one of the legendary series of boats named Skylark used for ‘pleasuring’ off Brighton Beach, sign written in red, green and gold, and surviving from early twentieth century England.

There are six holes where the plate would have been attached to the boat. The paint is worn as photographed with no attempt to restore any areas, with no damages to speak of.

The first Skylark was operated by Fred Collins in Victorian times, and it was a major attraction. Collins was a fisherman and a showman. The boat was effectively a fairground at sea and even had a band on board. They used to go fishing in the morning, wash the boats down, rig them out with flags and bunting, and go boating in the afternoon. When Collins died in 1912, aged 79, Brighton came to a standstill for his funeral, with thousands of mourners lining the route of the procession. We don’t know which Skylark this sign was once attached to, but further research may prove fruitful.

A scarce and beautiful sign that conjures up much nostalgia.