Saturday 6 December 2008

Signwritten Art

Signwritten Art by A J Lewery
Book Review

As you travel around the canals of England and Wales you can't help but notice the names painted on the sides of boats. The quality varies enormously with some craft carrying amateurish scrawls but others enhanced by magnificent sign writing echoing back to the days of commercial canal carrying fleets and No1's.

Sign writing as a craft is now virtually dead, replaced by quick and easy pvc letters, cut out by computer. A few pockets remain where traditionally applied sign writing is valued, such as historic pubs, fairgrounds and of course on the sides of narrow boats.

This book provides an authoritative commentary on the history of sign writing and how the craft evolved. It is technical and not entirely devoted to boat painting, but if you are interested in the heritage of our waterways and understanding why boats are painted the way they are this is a book for you.

AJ Lewery is one of the latter day greats of sign writing, inspiring quality in sign written art and an appreciation of a job well done. A word of warning - if you read this book you won't be able to tolerate a shoddy set of plastic letters on your boat. You will be compelled to spend the extra and have a "proper job" done by one of the jobbing sign writers, who still ply their trade around the canal system.

ISBN 0-7153-2103-x

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