Sunday, 14 January 2018

Ghost signs (131): Venetian mosaics

There is limited scope for ghost signs on Venice's streets, simply because most streets are so narrow and their buildings are crammed in so tightly that highly-visible gable ends are uncommon. Some businesses responded creatively, by placing mosaic adverts on the pavements. 


My first, and very favourite, find was this wonderful travel agency mosaic complete with aeroplanes. SAIET were established in 1952 and still operate in the Veneto, offering freight shipping services by road, boat and air. 71G San Marco, at the outer corner of St Mark's Square, is now an art gallery. 


Another travel agency (now apparently gone) and American Express remind the pedestrian that they are in the tourist heart of the city, near St Mark's Square.


AmEx travellers' cheques cashed, food and entertainment were waiting nearby. The Martini night club seems to have disappeared. There is still a Taverna dei Dogi, although it may not be the same one.



Further north, in Cannaregio, the casino also seeks to tempt tourists to part company with their  holiday money. 


Ironically, the most restrained sign is advertising a mosaic-maker in Dorsoduro. However, their Grand Canal facade does a better job of showcasing their wares. Salviati himself was a lawyer, not a glassmaker, but he founded the company in 1859 alongside craftsman Lorenzo Radi and contributed a talent for marketing. (Their London showroom on Regent Street is now an Apple Store but still displays beautiful mosaics on its facade, too.)



I haven't been able to find much information about this form of pavement advertising. If anyone knows of its history, it would be wonderful to learn more!



Saturday, 6 January 2018

Ghost signs (130): Pickering and Mayell


In Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter is a building full of fantastic historical features, not least the ghost signs painted along its front and side facades. Pickering and Mayell Ltd was founded in 1913, not as a jeweller but rather to make the packaging in which other firms' jewellery was supplied. Twenty years ago, it merged with the Pickering Group and it still supplies its products to clients ranging from Argos to luxury brands. 


Their original premises began life in the early nineteenth century as a pair of homes. The style of the building, and features such as the doorframe, are continuing evidence of those beginnings. To its rear are purpose-built workshops.


The building is Grade II listed; and included in the listing text is its wonderful window panel bearing the company name and street number. 


Another distinctive feature is the cast-iron letterbox with its unusual semi-circular shape. This design is characteristic of the Jewellery Quarter, with a number of surviving examples to be found.


Inevitably, my favourite feature is the street sign! Not only the name, but also the cast iron  sign itself, are fantastic. The crescent heads on the cast-iron railings are another local style. 


Pickering and Mayell are no longer at these premises, however. They have moved into the building of the Talbot Group a little way down the road.


This building is a wonderful piece of the Jewellery Quarter's past. Let's hope it has a happy future.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...