Hieroglyphic Picture
or Rebus

Puzzle messages, where a picture represents a word or a letter of the alphabet. were especially popular in the late Eighteenth and early 19th Centuries.

This pair of curious rebuses appeared on the Antiques Roadshow in Scotland in 1988. The Puzzle Museum acquired them in 1990.


They are both challenging puzzles and intriguing "wotsits" Each consists of a watercolour scene and a rebus letter, mounted on hinged oak panels, 12 inches (300mm) wide.

Dated 1811, one puzzle is what on earth were they for?



On examination one can see that the back of each of the upper panels has two screw holes near the centre that do not penetrate the painting on the front.

This is different to the two holes that have been drilled near the corners, which crudely go through everything including both picture and rebus.

Solving the rebus may solve the the function.

Photo of 1st Rebus

Mouse over above, to see part solution. Please help us finish it by solving the bits in RED.

If this part does read "For your (ewer) Festival Meeting", then the mystery of why the rebuses are mounted in such a curious way may be that they were screwed, by the central two holes, to something for the duration of some annual event.

When not in use the lower part was hinged up and tied with string through the peripheral holes to protect both surfaces. The back of the upper right panel shows signs of a circular rubbing as if the lower fixing had fallen out at some point, allowing the whole to swivel back and forth.


Can you help with this?
A full solution may follow if enough people are being baffled; but you must help us with the difficult bits!
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