Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hingham, Norfolk

Hunting the hart

Spotting my recent posts on unusual inn signs, and anticipating that I’d soon be moving on to post a three-dimensional sign, Peter Ashley of Unmitigated England sent me this picture of the White Hart at Hingham. Hingham is known for its fine collection of Georgian houses, built apparently when local gentry moved in to reduce their reliance on the area’s inadequate roads during the winter, giving them elegant town houses and Hingham itself the nickname ‘Little London’. The White Hart sign is a real winner, a visual asset where a conventional hanging sign, or maybe a row of wooden letters attached to the wall, would have been expected. I like the way that Peter’s photograph catches the beast as if it is just becoming aware of the pursuing hunter – a hunter equipped of course with a weapon no more deadly than a Leica.

When not wielding his Leica, incidentally, Peter Ashley has had his paintbrushes out. The result is a rather lovely capriccio depicting a selection of the most notable buildings in the town of Stamford in Lincolnshire. It’s an artful image, containing lovely examples of architecture from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, plus a number of picturesque inclusions, from a railway train (steam-hauled, naturally) to street furniture. Prints of the image have been made and some of the proceeds from their sale will go to the Stamford Civic Society. You can find out more about the prints here and there’s a short film about them here.

Peter Ashley, Unmitigated Stamford


Anonymous said...

Another white hart! One of the most popular pub names in England - there are several hundred more, I believe.

The white hart was the heraldic badge of Richard II. As I understand it, he introduced a rule requiring public houses to display a sign.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Yes, a lot of pub names/signs have a heraldic origin, indicating loyalty to the sovereign or local lord. The White Hart was indeed the badge of Richard II.