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Brewer's sign

Brewer's sign

  • Date:

    18th century (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wrought iron painted and gilded.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 3, case SC2, shelf SOUTH

Until the 19th century, trade-signs, often made of iron, enlivened many European streets. They acted as indicators of the sort of trade being carried out, or the goods being marketed within the premises. Signs also allowed private houses and institutions to be readily identified in a large town or city - particularly necessary before the 19th century introduction of house numbering and street signs and in an age when illiteracy was still widespread.

This particular example is a brewer's sign. Appropriately, it incorporates a malster's ladle and shovel, encircled by a wreath of hops. The malster was responsible for malting the grain; converting the grain into malt so that it could be used to brew beer. This sign is made of wrought iron and has been painted and gilded.

Physical description

Brewers sign. Wrought iron, painted and gilded. German; 18th century. Incorporating a malster's ladle and shovel, encircled by a wreath of hops.


18th century (made)

Materials and Techniques

Wrought iron painted and gilded.


Height: 63.7 cm approx., Width: 55.13 cm approx.

Descriptive line

Brewers sign, wrought iron, painted and gilded. Germany, 1700-1800.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Philippa Glanville and Sophie Lee, eds., The Art of Drinking, V&A Publications, London, 2007, p. 23. ill. ISBN: 9781851775101


Wrought iron; Paint; Gold


Forging; Painting; Gilding

Subjects depicted

Foliage; Wreath; Ribbon; Ladle; Shovel; Hops


Ironwork; Metalwork


Metalwork Collection

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