Jason Clarke Antiques

Rare Nineteenth Century Ship's Chandlers & Instrument Makers Shop Sign


For sale, a very rare surviving early Nineteenth Century Ship’s Chandler and Scientific Instrument Maker’s shop sign for Jos’ Finlay. It is sign written to Jos’ (presumably Joseph, Josiah or Joshua) Finlay with Chandler and Instrument maker’s to the other arm and limb.

This large sign measures 92cms in both height and width and approximately five cms deep.

The most prominent trade denoted on the sign is that of Chandler which would suggest that Finlay’s primary business was that of a ship’s chandler, a trade which still remains to this day. Their activities were essentially to supply everything that a ship would require in terms of provisions and boat spares for its impending voyage, the likelihood that the crew would also be in need of good quality instrumentation would mean that navigational instruments would have also been a lucrative addition to the goods that were offered by the chandler.

Constructed from pine it has been accurately crafted into the form of a quadrant with painted scale and including an original mirror affixed to the top of the scale arm.

Little evidence of Finlay’s business remains in the records today, the surname is of Scottish origin but there were also a number of Finlay’s active in Belfast including a Joseph Finlay who may have fit the bill. Sadly, the information is too scant to be able to make an accurate attribution. Nevertheless, this is a rare relic of shop advertising and sign writing from a time where most premises would provide pictorial guidance to prospective clients.

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