Tôle peinte (painted metal sheet)
Height: 80.5 cm
This sign is made of gilded tinplate fixed to a wooden platform with a metal sheet covering the top and the pestle sticking out. According to Sir Ambrose Heal’s comprehensive 1947 study of London shop signs, by the late 17th century a Pestle and Mortar sign was commonly used to designate a brazier’s or a cheese monger’s shop, as well as a chemist’s. This variation in possibilities is a reflection of the fact that shop signs were more often adopted to identify the establishment, meaning the person or family who owned the business, rather than the trade itself.
Pestle and Mortar Trade Sign 19th century © Compton Verney