Larmessin’s French “trade” characters

I discovered Nicolas de Larmessin a while ago. I was searching for a French portrait, and I ran across this incredible collection of about 100 engravings of French characters he’d done around 1700. They represent common tradespersons of that time, and their bodies and fashions incorporate the tools of their respective trades. I just love these and have been waiting for an opportunity to use some. It came when I found these two gold frames ($1 each!) at thrift store. I already had found a package of 12 perfect new unused white mats just the size of the frames (whole package for $1), so all I needed was some wonderful art.

I decided to print two figures (the Gardener and the Perfumist) in dark brown on some painter’s tarp that I had mounted to self-adhesive sheets. (I’ve detailed how to print on fabric in a past post, but it’s also all over Pinterest.) I wanted to give them a little texture and age. It turned out well. I love printing on fabric and have bought some other unbleached fabrics to try. I may age them with coffee or tea before using.

Anyway, here they are. And if you’d like to see more of de Larmessin’s characters (everything from the Wine Merchant to the Blacksmith), check out this site.

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4 thoughts on “Larmessin’s French “trade” characters

  1. These picture looked like you’ve been trolling the flea markets of Europe. It is marvelous what one finds at thrift shops. Like you I always pick frames like this – and they are seldom more than $1. You have done a simply marvy job. Virginia

  2. You are the most incredibly creative person! I would never have dreamed of using painters’ tarps for anything but painting. I love these prints.

  3. I am traveling back and forth on yours Posts. You are an incredibly gifted person. Still haven’t found your post how to print on fabric, but I am having a joyous time looking. Virginia

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