A Practical Introduction To Signwriting

A few photos from a day course I attended yesterday at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum.  A full day of sign practice under my belt under the tuition of Wayne Osborne, a traditional signwriter based in Midhurst.

Full marks for location, the course took place in an astonishing building – the Downland Gridshell Conservation Workshop; and the museum, an independent concern established in 1967 and located about ten minutes north of Chichester, is a beautiful site well worth visiting.

The course itself consisted of a morning spent practicing brush work and basic block and roman lettering, followed by tuition on layouts.  The afternoon was spent working on individual pieces, from design and layout to a fully handpainted sign.

Weald & Downland Open Air Museum

Osborne Signs

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Ghost Signs

On a brief stop in the Dorset town of Bridport at the weekend, I happened upon the above ghost sign, a wonderful term which applies to those faded, scuffed old signs that you sometimes catch sight of above eye level on forgotten walls.  It reminded me of another example i photographed while visiting York two years ago.  The Bile Beans sign is a fairly iconic local landmark and was apparently restored by the York Arts Forum in 1986.

In case you were wondering I think Bile Beans were a mild laxative, similar to liver salts.

Upon further investigation online I found an entire website dedicated to the documentation of ghost signs where you can find some interesting archives and articles on the subject.

Ghost Signs