Sunday, 18 November 2012

Ghost sign news

First, the Bile Beans ghost sign in York has been repainted. It had already been painted in the 1980s, a restoration which was controversial at the time. That controversy has now been reignited: York Stories has an excellent account


Second, Liverpool Ghost Signs was published on Thursday. It's the first book about British ghost signs, so I've ordered my copy! Sam Roberts has interviewed the authors, Caroline and Phil Bunford, on his Ghostsigns blog. (He also wrote the foreword.)

Finally, Sam's own book has just been published. It looks at the Hand-Painted Signs of Kratie in Cambodia, where he has lived for several years. This book is a fascinating insight into the style of the signs and the process of producing them; it also analyses their wider context in the history of the city and the country. Well-illustrated, it's a wonderful exploration of the advertising culture of Cambodia, and gives an international perspective to hand-painted signs. 



8 comments:

TravelGirl said...

i've photographed that sign several times over the last 15 years or so... i'd always assumed it was au naturel, but i suppose deep-down i must have thought it couldn't have survived as beautifully as it had for as long as i'd assumed...

i wish i'd been there when the red phone box was still part of the scenery...

SilverTiger said...

I can understand the disquiet of people who feel that the ghost sign is no longer authentic. They are right: it isn't.

I can also understand the dilemma. If it is not "restored", the sign will eventually disappear. On the other hand, it already has disappeared - under a layer of modern paint. It is at best a facsimile.

Protecting ancient treasures requires skill and tact and sometimes we have to resign ourselves to losing them as an alternative to falsifying them.

Sam Roberts said...

Thanks for mentioning the book Caroline, it seems to be a real pre-Christmas flurry in the realm of hand-painted advertising literature!

Richard Telmot said...

I do agree that authenticity shouldn't be questioned where it doesn't exist!

CarolineLD said...

The restoration issue is fascinating. I found it very interesting that the restoration of a restoration got such a strong reaction - and I did gasp at the photo of the new sign myself. It perhaps gives us some idea of how people felt when our beloved ghosts first appeared in their gaudy, fresh paint.

Sam, I'm really enjoying your book. I could have made my Christmas list very easily this year, if only I weren't too impatient to wait to read it and the Liverpool book!

Sam Roberts said...

Thanks for your kind words Caroline, I hope it might make one or two others' Christmas lists too. As we're on the restoration debate, did you see this interesting approach from Canada?

HughB said...

Whether to preserve ghost signs or not is a difficult choice, but we have technology that the ancients never had - cameras! As long as a photo archive is kept, local history will be kept alive when signs (and buildings) have disappeared.

CarolineLD said...

That Canadian idea is really interesting, Sam. I wonder how feasible preserving a sign in its current condition is.

Hugh, I agree that photographs are vital - and thanks to Sam, we have a wonderful archive of them!