Title   Wever (Search for the image)
Translated title Weaver
Intro Text by dr D. Barnes, accompanying Bramer’s drawing of a weaver (`weaver’)

Code of occupational group 75400
Description A weaver, wearing a soft, brimless cap, sits at his wooden loom. His broad back is much in evidence as he stretches his arms and hands over the loom. A young barefoot boy sits on a low chair near the weaver's loom. He spins thread on a spinning wheel.

Weaving was a major enterprise in the 17th century. The Dutch imported raw wool from England and Spain; spun it, wove it, dyed it, fulled it, trimmed it, and sent back finished bolts of fabric to their trading partners or sold the finished woolen fabric domestically.. The honest weaver, working at a loom in his cottage, was considered a symbol of Dutch workmanship and a source of pride to the leading cloth-manufacturing towns of Holland. Delft had both saii and linen weavers. While spinning was considered women's work, it is clear that some old men and young boys also worked as spinners.

Depictions of weavers at their looms can be found in many genre paintings. See for example Johannes van Oudenrogge's 1652 "Weaver's Workshop" (Rijksmuseum) where the loom dominates the shop as the weaver pauses for a pipe of tobacco with some companions near the fireplace, or his 1653 painting of the weaver adjusting the warp on his loom (Rijksmuseum Twenthe). The presence of the spinner in the weaver's shop is seen in Cornelis Decker's 1659 version of "The Weaver's Workshop" (Rijksmuseum).

Bramer followed some of the imagery employed by Van Vliet who also has a young boy operating the spinning wheel and places his weaver at the same kind of loom. On the other hand, Bramer's drawing suggests an intimacy between the barefoot spinner and weaver not present in Van Vliet's etching, where the spinner has his back to the weaver. Bramer has omitted the weighing scale, shuttle, wool sack, broom and bucket found in Van Vliet's work. Bramer has positioned the loom differently so that its workings are suggested, rather than depicted accurately.

Source Donna R. Barnes, Ed D, Street scenes, Leonard Bramer's drawings of seventeenth-century daily life (Hofstra Museum exhibition 1991). Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York.

Click here for the introductory essay on Bramer's drawings.

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