Sunday, 1 September 2013

Nelson gets a facelift

New sign

Old sign #2
Old sign #1

I can be a little unobservant at times. Because it's so high above street level, I hadn't taken a close look at the new sign for The Nelson (formerly the Lord Nelson Inn) in Topsham; and nor had I noticed that the old ones are in the courtyard behind.

It's interesting to compare influences and styles. The old sign #1 is a rather stylised but realistic portrait. The old sign #2 is brilliantly naff as a piece of naive art in the style of many pub signs. The new sign, reflecting the formal name change to The Nelson, is a very polished photorealistic depiction (anecdotally, I gather it was done by a Dutch graphics firm). Googling a little finds that ...

Old sign #1 / 1800 Heinrich Füger portrait (detail)
... the old sign #1 (above) is closely based on Heinrich Füger's 1800 portrait, currently in the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth.

Old sign #2 / Beechey portrait (detail)
The old sign #2 (above) looks to have based the uniform on one of the William Beechey portraits, with the face similar to that of the Heinrich Füger.

New sign / 1799 Abbott portrait (detail)
The new sign (above) is modelled on the 1799 Lemuel Francis Abbott portrait (see Wikipedia), which is in the Terracotta Room at 10 Downing Street. It slightly embellishes Nelson's uniform with the red sash from the Beechey depictions. In my view it makes Nelson look rather bland and neotonous, but I still think it's extremely well done as a very nice sign that modifies an original image to the point where it's neither a straight copy nor a too obvious adaptation.

- Ray

No comments:

Post a comment