Sunday 12 July 2009

Ghost signs (20): Ripolin

There are several signs for Ripolin on the roads leading into Lille. This brand of paint has a rather jolly logo: three painters (nicknamed Riri, Polo and Lino), complete with white overalls and brushes. It was invented by the Dutch chemist Carl Riep in 1888, and was a high-quality lacquer paint apparently used by Picasso. He, along with painters and decorators, appreciated its faster drying time. Indeed, the brand name became a verb, 'ripoliner'. Today the brand produces a wide range of paints.

A similar image appears on the house painted on both sides. The other wall is largely screened by trees, as were several other signs I spotted. Clearly not everyone shares my enthusiasm for these old adverts! Marc Combier, in his excellent book on French ghost signs, perhaps explains why: 'letting of sites for painted walls was often a mug's game for the proprietors. What's more, the thing that pleases the lover of old publicity - that advertisers never erased the adverts - is a source of unhappiness for proprietors who don't want to see these old adverts degrading their home and have to pay large sums to put the wall back to its original condition.'* It is perhaps unsurprising that some owners have attempted simply to whitewash the signs away:

*My translation.


TravelGirl said...

My favourite Ghost Sign is located just outside the city walls of York. It advertising something called "Nightly Bile Beans."

I'm almost afraid to ask. :)

CarolineLD said...

They do sound rather ominous! Apparently, they were a tablet version of liver salts; I'll leave you to decide whether that's a good thing or not...

More here.

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