19th Century Antique American Tutor Trade Sign
Excellent Patina | Rare Form | J. Abendschein
This unusual late 19th century American double sided tutor trade sign measures a highly desirable 19" in height and 15" in width and will make an excellent addition to any collection of antique American advertising, folk art, or trade signs. When we bought this trade sign, we were usure of the occupation for which it was used. The laurel wreath is traditionally a symbol of health and fertility, of athletic prowess, and of academic achievement.
On a recent buying trip, Heidi and I found ourselves strolling the Penn State campus in State College, Pennsylvania. On the university's main quad, I looked up to survey the campus architecture and noticed that the buildings on all sides of me were decorated with a large border of sculptural laurel wreaths. A light went off in my head. I recalled the Freshman/Senior sculptures in front of Eastern Illinois University's Coleman Hall, the building where I have taught English for the last fourteen years. The Freshman sculpture is a large bowl with an open basket weave pattern. Since there are holes in the bowl, the sculpture remains empty, forever an uneducated and immature college freshman. The Senior sculpture, however, is a large bowl with no holes. It is filled with fertile soil, and every year new vines sprout forth and overflow the bowl. This is the fertile college senior filled with knowledge. Obviously, the laurel wreath on this trade sign symbolizes the tutor's academic achievement, and the golden basket overflowing with laurel represents the tutor's wealth of knowledge.
This superb and rare double sided late 19th century tutor trade sign retains its spectacular original polychromatic paint decoration and is sure to be a stunning addition to any collection of fine early American antiques.