Eighteen months ago, I discussed the tiled mural on the former Kentish Drovers pub, Old Kent Road. The building is Victorian, and since a 1911 book, Old Country Inns of England, refers to it as 'the largest sign we have ever come across' and one of a diminishing number of such pictorial signs, it seems reasonable to assume the sign is nineteenth-century too.
Yesterday I took some better photos of the mural. I was intrigued to notice a detail in the bottom right corner: a name, presumably the artist's. Unfortunately the surname cannot fully be made out. It begins 'Alice Da...' but the rest has been obliterated. Neither Google nor Pevsner have been able to help, but I'd be intrigued to know who this Victorian artist was.
Tiled panels were popular adornments for commercial premises. Among their makers were local company Doulton, who had a factory in Lambeth and employed many women artists in the nineteenth century, as a contemporary watercolour records. Indeed, this pattern was common throughout the pottery industry and in 1861, nearly a third of the workforce in the Staffordshire potteries was female - rising to almost half by the end of the century.
Whatever the origins of these particular tiles, they are rich with appealing details. It's a real pity that their condition has been allowed to deterioriate so badly.
(As usual, click to enlarge images.)