Monday, 23 November 2009

Printers' ghost signs

Printers' signs, part 1 (Go to part 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

On Saturday I returned to the British Museum to have a second look at the current exhibition of Mexican prints, a worthy follow-up to last year’s American Scene (although I don’t agree with the legend that accompanies the poster for the 1952 meeting of the Confederación de Trabajadores de América Latina...). Some of the prints on show are absolutely superb and testify not only to the talent of the artists but also to the skills of the printers.
Obviously not all printers would have been able to master the techniques required for fine art printing, and in any case many wouldn’t even have needed them to honour the orders placed by their customers. But did the painted signs some printers paid for reflect their versatility? Below are a few examples of such signs, ranging from simple to more elaborate ones, from bare to pretty descriptive ones.

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