Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Icons and Pubs

This rather nice iconic angelic image has been deliberately done as a sign for a pub (public house/tavern) in England. The person who painted it is a devout RC who does a lot of restoration and decorative work for Churches, especially his amazing reproduction of the Sistine Chapel ceiling here.

I find it a rather dissonant concept, having an "almost-icon" used to advertise a pub.
Is it just me ?
What do you all think ?
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Matt said...

It seems strange and would be out of context in this country. Is there a tradition of using angels on signs in your country?

Elizabeth said...

I'm shocked and find myself totally disconcerted!

Anonymous said...


I can say one thing those who leave soused definitely need the Lord to gaurd and protect them in all their ways!

None the less not appropriate, historical use not with standing!

Avis Exley said...

Having religious figures on pub signs is a very ancient tradition. When pilgrimages began in the 12th Century, pilgrims stayed overnight in monasteries but, eventually, there were so many people the monks couldn't cope. Enterprising locals therefore opened private inns but gave them religious names to imply a monastic connection. As most of the population were illiterate, pictures were used - probably copied from churches' stained-glass windows. Saints, angels and arks were common devices.

When Henry VIII established the Church of England, many of the overtly Catholic signs disappeared, for example, St Peter became the Crossed Keys and the Ark became the Ship.

I've just finished researching a book on the history of pub names and was astounded by how many were influenced by religion, secret worship and sudden changes in religion.

If anyone wants to find out more, I've posted various free articles on the web here and there so just search my name and "pub signs".

Elaine Saunders
Author: A Book About Pub Names