Boar’s Head Inn Sign, probably German

Artist unkown

19th century


Height: 90.7 cm

The boar is another example of an heraldic device converted into an inn-sign. The boar was the heraldic symbol of the Yorkist faction in the 15th-century Wars of the Roses, whose most notorious member was King Richard III. The blue boar, on the other hand, was a symbol of the De Veres, Earls of Oxford.


This sign is a carved relief set in a typically Teutonic cartouche frame. It includes particularly charming details, most notably the inclusion of a pipe which juts from the animal’s mouth. It was likely to have been displayed outside, as suggested by its weather-beaten appearance. While this example may be German, there is an account of a similar, English sign – a boxwood boar’s head in a circular frame – being pulled from the rubble of the City of London after the Great Fire of 1666.