I have a theory, which I’ll delve into in my next book, called “Roman Workbenches,” that the transition from the old-style Roman workbench to the more formally joined French or modern bench occurred in the 16th century.
So I was thrilled when the above engraving showed up today from researcher Suzanne Ellison. The engraving was made by Johannes of Lucas van Doetechum after a work by Hans Vredeman de Vries in 1572. The work is part of a series of four prints that depict carpenters’ tools in an artistic way – bunches of chisels are depicted as flowers and so forth.
There is, as always, a lot to see and process. Because we are on a workbench kick this week, the bench is of particular interest. It is firmly in the Roubo camp of modern benches with its stretchers and rectilinear construction. Also worth noting are the crochet, holdfast and peg holes in the legs.
In real life, this engraving is about 7-1/4” tall , but I wish it were 7’ tall.
— Christopher Schwarz