6 Apr 2018

E. Gautier’s Beautiful Paris Ghost Signs

Enseignes, Paris, by Wim Dammers

Independently of each other I have been sent photos of this beautiful Paris ghost signs by Wim Dammers and book contributor Leisa Clements. It is a remarkably elaborate piece of work, including picturials in other sections. This is isn’t surprising as it is advertising the services of E. Gautier’s sign firm. He no doubt wanted clients to see all that they were capable of, and what better way to do so then through the decoration of his own premises. (That’s assuming he was located here, which would have made it a rather large sign firm given the coverage of the work on the building, see it on Streetview.)

I posted an image to the Better Letters ‘Signwriting & Lettering Archive‘ album on Facebook, and then shared this to the (official) Ghostsigns page. This posting led to a series of replies from Tot Brill and Stephen Gavin relating to work of Tot’s father, the artist Frederick Brill. From Tot:

My brother in law just sent me an album of photographs of that same building because my father drew, painted and made a lithograph of it some time in the late 1940s/early1950s.

Drawing by Frederick Brill, photographed by Stephen Gavin

Stephen, Frederick’s son-in-law adds:

The painting [Homage a’ Atkinson Grimshaw] is unusual for having its title signed on it. (See comment by Frederick’s widow, Deirdre Borlase, in the Tate’s catalogue.) As far as I know it is the only view of Paris by the artist. Frederick Brill 1920-1984 was principal of Chelsea School from 1965-1979.

Homage a’ Atkinson Grimshaw by Frederick Brill, photographed by Stephen Gavin

It is wonderful to have these images shared, and below are a series of photos that Stephen Gavin took of the signs on the building in 2009. Thank you both.

Photo: Stephen Gavin
Photo: Stephen Gavin
Photo: Stephen Gavin
Photo: Stephen Gavin
Photo: Stephen Gavin
Photo: Stephen Gavin

Post Script (16 June 2020)

This building is included in a c.1866 photograph by Charles Marville, here on the Vergue website.

Rue Maître Albert, du quai de la Tournelle. Paris Ve. Vers 1866. (Photo: Charles Marville/Vergue)

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