Images of Dyers and Dyeing Technology

by Drea Leed

Through the Middle Ages up to the eve of the industrial revolution, the materials and tools used for dyeing were quite basic: the vat, the reel, the furnace, and the stirring stick, supplemented by sieves, buckets, blocks and other accessories of the dyer's trade.

Below is a collection of images of dyers and dyeing through history, from the fourteenth century through 1800. Like all artistic depictions, they must be taken with a grain of salt; several are allegorical, and very few of the earlier images are designed to represent the dyer's trade completely accurately. Nevertheless, they give a great deal of insight into the tools and technology of the dyer as it evolved over the last millenium.

14th c. dyers
English 14th c. dyers
Dyers from the Mendelschen Stiftsbuch (15th century)
Dyers from the Tratatto dell'Arte della Seta
Flemish dyers, c. 1482
Red Dyer from the Landauerschen manuscript, 1500
Dyers from the Plictho
Dyer from Jost Amman's Book of Trades
"Il Lanificio"--the Wool Art, by Mirabello Cavalori
Arms of German dyer's guilds, 1605
Nurnberg English-dyer, 1618
Dyer by Christoph Weiditz, 1698
The frontispiece to The Perfect Dyer, 1708
Dyers, 1711
An 18th century Dyer's Valentine
Yarn Dyers, eighteenth century
Dye Houses from Diderot's Encyclopedie
Dyers, c. 1800

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