a sinewy golden arm

Gabriel Aparta

Senior Member
Español - Venezuela
Hello everyone, please, from David Copperfield:

He was a little light-haired gentleman, with undeniable boots, and the stiffest of white cravats and shirt-collars. He was buttoned up, mighty trim and tight, and must have taken a great deal of pains with his whiskers, which were accurately curled. His gold watch-chain was so massive, that a fancy came across me, that he ought to have a sinewy golden arm, to draw it out with, like those which are put up over the goldbeaters' shops.

Does anybody know what he is talking about when he mentions that golden arm, and what are those goldbeaters' shops? He is describing a lawyer.

  • David imagines the gentleman with an arm made of gold, sinewy-looking. Those who work with gold, making thin leaves of it (for gilding)[corr], use a 'golden arm' as a symbol (like barbershops use the spiral cylinder) displayed in front of their shops.

    Here is a picture of such a shop sign. Goldbeaters' shop sign, 18th century. Hundreds of shop signs could be...
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