While up in the Boston area last week, Peter Follansbee, the joiner at Plimoth Plantation, commented on the lack of images of shavehorses from the 17th century.
That kind of question mark interests me.
Earlier I had stumbled on some engravings of people whose body parts were the tools and materials they worked with. The print, Habit de Menuisier Ebeniste, showed a cabinetmaker made from his tools.
Jeff Burks (naturally) turned up the plate shown above and several more that were similar. This one shows a cooper with a shavehorse at his feet. Here’s what Burks says about the artist and what is known about the plate:
These were by Nicolas de Larmessin II (printmaker; French; c.1645 – 1725). Engraver; brother of Nicolas de Larmessin I. Father of Nicolas III. Worked most of his career for his elder brother, and later his widow. Seems to have published little himself.
The dates attributed to these engravings vary from 1690-1700 and beyond. I don’t think anybody really has a concrete date for them. It also appears that they also don’t agree about how many were in the original set. Some say 77, some say 97, and there were copycat artists who came after, plus reprints of the originals, sometimes hand-colored.
The image is from Gallica. And we will keep looking.
— Christopher Schwarz