Achille serre, dyer & cleaner london - enamel sign


United Kingdom

Hoarde Vintage Member since 2016
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This wonderful, early, double-sided enamel sign for an 'Agent for Achille Serre - High Class Dyer & Cleaner - London" features some fantastic Art Nouveau stylings and is an interesting piece of social history... Achille Serre and his wife Eugenie were Parisian ribbon dyers who travelled over to England in 1870 and continued that business here. In 1876 they expanded to garment dyeing and the new technology of cleaning clothing with chemical solvents - a process that was becoming very popular in France but was virtually unheard of in England... Essentially Achille Serre introduced dry cleaning to the UK! The company was very successful and soon occupied a huge premises in Walthamstow, London. They had agents all round country where clothing and linens could be dropped off for / collected from cleaning (it was one of these agents that this sign would have advertised). Achille Serre's company (latterly run by his son Eugene) was very focused on their public image and had a fleet of delivery vans painted in a 'smart green with gold letterings'. The green we see in this enamel sign was obviously part of the same 'branding'.

The sign is a wonderfully early example of enamel advertising - probably dating to the 1900s/'10s. It was produced by the Potter Bros - a manufacturer I've not encountered before... It's stylings were undoubtedly inspired by the Serre's French heritage - it's wonderfully Art Nouveau and would look perfectly at home on the Paris Metro!

For an early piece of enamel advertising the sign has survived the past century or so in reasonable condition with both sides remaining fully legible. Each face has encountered some mottling / discolouration to the green background, each has a little chipping around the outer edges and one face has a patch of enamel loss near the A of Achille, while the over has one over the L. As per the angled photographs the sign has the lovely thick enamel layers that you would expect from an early piece of signage but both sides have lost their glossy surfaces in each instance it's more of a matte sheen. But generally this is the sort of ageing that would have to be expected with an original, early piece of advertising and gives it the sort of character that just can't be replicated.

The sign can be hung using it's original mounting holes and would look fantastic suspended so that both sides can be seen, otherwise it'll work perfectly well to pick your favourite side and display against a wall...

The sign measures 51cm high x 42cm wide.


  • H: 51cm (20.08in)
  • W: 42cm (16.54in)
  • D: 0.2cm (0.08in)



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111 Portobello Road
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I’m Louis Walpole. Over a decade of working for and alongside some of the best antique dealers in the country at London’s renowned Portobello Road have helped me to form a detailed understanding of, and appreciation for, a diverse array of antiques. In 2016, after ‘dabbling’ in the trade since childhood I decided to follow my heart and (ignoring a myriad of people advising against it) leave my salaried job to trade full time. Since then I have travelled around England and Western Europe collecting the pieces that particularly interest me. These pieces loosely follow the themes of; automotive, advertising, scientific and industrial. I have a select number of items on display in Atlam on Portobello Road. The shop is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm and on Saturdays from 8am to 5pm.

If you would like to view any of my pieces in London, please get in touch to confirm that they’re at the shop or to arrange for me to take them there for you. It may also be possible for me to bring items to your home/bar/garage/pub etc so that they can be fully appreciated in-situ, again please just get in touch and we’ll see what can be organised."

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