Free shipping in Italy on all orders over €50

James Clough: Signs / 2

We are reposting all the articles written by James Clough for la Repubblica / Robinson, extending his 20-year research published in the volume Signs of Italy.

Mercerie

With the disappearance (or almost disappearance) of many artistic crafts, it is only natural that we return to an appreciation of what was handmade and has survived to this day. The Italian sign painter invented different styles of alphabets, partly because – unlike in other countries such as France and England – there were no manuals prescribing canonical models. The craftsman responsible for this Florentine sign demonstrates that he was familiar with one of the many stylistic trends that influenced the letterforms of his time (perhaps the 1920s) and interprets it in his own way, without excess: only the lower arm of the two ‘E’s curved upwards and the ‘M’ with its slightly curved diagonals are specific Art Nouveau stylistic features. The three-dimensional effect is achieved with great skill by dosing the ‘shadows’ with nuances from light to dark.

MERCERIE
Sign: “Mercerie”

Although the items for sale in the shop are not exactly those of a traditional haberdashery, the owner, Mrs Silvia Franciosi, who took over the shop in 1993, claims that her jewellery and necklaces made from fabric are nonetheless similar. So she is happy to keep the sign, which she also appreciates for its historical and artistic value.

Location: Florence
Address: Via de’ Ginori 34R
Technique: painting on glass
Writing: Art Nouveau shaded capitals
Year: 1920s (?)

Originally published by Robinson («la Repubblica») on Feb 4, 2018.
Courtesy of James Clough.