Tavern and Inn Sign of Zaccheus Lambert

Falmouth, Maine, 1810
White pine, iron, original painted decoration.
Height 54 ½ inches, width 39 inches, depth 2 inches 
Inscribed: “Entertainment” / Z. LAMBERT / 1810”

The original owner of this sign was Zaccheus Lambert, Jr, born in 1769 in Scituate, Massachusetts, the son of Zaccheus Lambert, Sr and Lydia Gray, who married February 17, 1767, in Scituate. Zaccheus Lambert, Jr was first married to Ziporah Curtis and this union produced two sons, Samuel C. Lambert in 1794 and John L. Lambert in 1798. The family moved from Scituate, Massachusetts to Cumberland County, Maine about 1798. After the death of his first wife, Lambert was remarried to Mary Hale in May of 1800 in Westbrook, Maine. By 1810 Zaccheus Lambert, Jr. was engaged in the hospitality business, opening a Tavern and Inn at the top of Lambert’s Hill in Falmouth, Maine, for which this sign was commissioned.  Eventually Lambert left the Tavern and Inn business in favor of financing real estate transactions. He sold the tavern to his Falmouth neighbor, Isaac Winslow, who operated it as “Winslow’s Tavern” until the property was foreclosed and sold at public auction in 1841 to satisfy a mortgage still held by Zaccheus Lambert in the amount of $228.28. During the 1830s and 1840s Zaccheus Lambert was engaged in numerous real estate transactions in Maine acting as mortgage holder and appears to have amassed a considerable fortune. At the time of his death in 1849 Lambert owned the Hussey farm in Falmouth, a “good two-story dwelling house, out houses, and two barns. It produced 50 tons of hay the last year and will pasture from 30 to 40 head of cattle. A large proportion of the land is good interval, and there is considerable quantity of good white oak ship timber on the Farm.” 

With its handsome architecture of a broken arched pediment centered by a scalloped urn shaped cartouche flanked by turned finials over and pilasters and original painted decoration beautifully weathered condition, this tavern sign is a great rarity. It is particularly notable for the charming rendering of a standing horse, the crisply lettered inscription and early date of 1810.

Signs of related form are illustrated and discussed in Susan P. Schoelwer, Ed., Lions & Eagles & Bulls, Early American Tavern & Inn Signs From the Collection of the Connecticut Historical Society (Hartford, 2000). 

 Provenance:
By family descent; William Schwind, Jr., Yarmouth, ME; Collection of David C. Morse, Portland, ME; “The Americana Collection of David C, Morse,” F. O. Bailey, Portland, Maine, July 10, 1986, lot 16; Private collection: David A. Schorsch and Eileen M. Smiles, Woodbury, CT, 2017; Private collection; David A. Schorsch and Eileen M. Smiles, Woodbury, CT.

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