LARMESSIN II, Nicolas de (1634-1694). [Les Costumes grotesques et les métiers. Suite of Fanciful Costumes]. [Paris: ca. 1700].
2° (435 x 310 mm). 38 full-page engraved images set within borders, most plates uncut. (A few plates with marginal repairs, some light marginal staining.) Modern red half morocco marbled paper over boards, spine gilt.
Very rare suite of this famous French 17-century "Fancy Trade Costumes." Each plate is composed of a stylized character, usually itinerant workers, merchants or street vendors, in the manner of Arcimboldo. The figure is portrayed in the accoutrement of his particular trade or occupation, with the clothing, hats, etc. constructed out of the tools from his/her trade. This suite of 38 Larmessin engravings includes the following figures: Gardener (Jardinier), Money changer (Monnoyer), Miller (Meusnier), Maker of table games (Tabletier), Printer (Imprimeur), Fisherman (Pescheur), Blacksmith (Mareschal), Wine maker (Vigneron), Hat maker (Chapellier), Knife and Sissor Sharpener (Remouleur), Plumber (Plombier), Shoe maker (Sauetier), Basket maker (Vannier), Locksmith (Serrurier), Leather worker (Ceinturier), Wheel wright (Charron), Second-hand Clothes seller (Fripier), Dairy & cheese maker (Laitier), Brick Mason (Masson), Baker, (Boulanger), Butcher (Boucher), Farm laborer (Labourer), Wild Game chef/seller (Rotisseur), Saddle maker (Sellier), Furier (Foureur), Wine merchant (Cabaretier), Chest and Box maker (Malletier-Coffretier), Comb and brush seller (Peigné), Coffee merchant (Caffetier), Hosier (Bonnetier), Tailor (Tailleur), Plume and feather seller (Plumassier), Playing Card printer (Cartier), Physician (Médecin), Chef (Cuisinier), Comedian (Comédien), Perfume maker/seller (Parfumeur), and Clock maker (Orlogeur). The de Larmessin (also: L'Armessin) family was a famous French dynasty of engravers, printers, and booksellers active during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The series of prints from which these plates derive has been given various titles: Les costumes grotesques et les métiers, Costumes grotesques, or Habits des métiers et professions. These French costume engravings are very rare; they appear on the market infrequently as single sheets, but almost never as a suite of prints. See: Lipperheide 1971 cites a date of 1695 & lists only 38 plates. Colas 1779 cites a date of 1690 and 97 (?) plates.