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Victorian Tradesmen Scraps

March 20, 2020
by the gentle author

As my collection of Victorian die-cut scraps has grown, I have specialised in acquiring images of working people.

Enlarged here to several times their actual size, the detail and characterisation of these figures is revealed splendidly. Printed by rich-hued colour lithography, glossy and embossed, these appealing images celebrate the essential tradesmen and shopkeepers that were once commonplace but now are scarce.

Here in the East End, these are the family businesses and independent traders who have created the identity of the place and carry the life of our streets. Consequently, I delight in these portraits of their predecessors, the tradesmen of the nineteenth century – rendered as giants by these monumental enlargements.

You may also like to take a look at my other scraps

Cries of London Scraps

From My Scrap Collection

12 Responses leave one →
  1. March 20, 2020

    These are Such Wonderful Paintings of the Vintage Workers!! Thank You So Much!!!????????

  2. March 20, 2020

    Such Lovely Vintage Paintings!!! Thank You So Much!!!????????

  3. Jill Wilson permalink
    March 20, 2020

    Great images, and I love the way the enlargements show the individual spots of colour which makes them look like giant tapestries.

  4. SIR MARCUS E SETCHELL permalink
    March 20, 2020

    Sitting at home in over 70’s Lockdown land, it was a delight to be reminded of these jolly Tradesmen, many of whom did home deliveries when I was growing up: milkman, grocer, greengrocer, butcher, fishmonger, baker, newspaper, postman to name but a few of the regulars.
    Comparison of all those human contacts with today, its only newspaper, alternate days milkman, and postman, and today as a very first-time user, OCADO to deliver all food and household items….. but to be left on the doorstep, no opening the door. As restaurants and pubs closed or closing, I suppose we can add ‘takeaway food’ deliveries and Deliveroo! And of course the daily treat of the Gentle Author.

  5. March 20, 2020

    Lovely work and a reminder of how male dominated trades used to be. Perhaps you have some examples of lady publicans and fiesty farmers’ wives, as well as the match girl and the flower seller in your collection, to say nothing of the local madam. Although perhaps the local madam would have offended the respectable trader and die cut scrap collector?

  6. Mary Connolly permalink
    March 20, 2020

    Thank you so much for the victrian scraps. So interesting. Stay safe and well. Love Mary x

  7. paul loften permalink
    March 20, 2020

    Where else could we view such magnificent images of down to earth tradesmen, whose very appearance reassures you of a job well done! Thank you, Gentle Author.
    The barber indeed gave me thoughts of addressing my overgrown mutton chops, however, I have to say that his somewhat transported demeanor gave me cause to investigate further. The open cutthroat razor in the right hand and an object in his left hand which I could not clearly identify even upon magnification, gave me cause for some concern as to my personal safety if I should decide to pay him a visit today.

  8. Jennifer Newbold permalink
    March 20, 2020

    Love these. Thank you so much for sharing them. There is a careful sensitivity in the execution of these images that speaks to the universal human condition. We are they, and they are us.

  9. Linda Granfield permalink
    March 20, 2020

    Oh, what a delight today!

    Dear GA–have you considered making an adult colouring book out of these scraps?

    Black outlines only, a page each figure. My, that and a new package of colouring pencils–dreamy during these Corona-Days that promise to last for months!

  10. Kate permalink
    March 20, 2020

    In the early 40s, during the war, collecting scraps was very much a girls “hobby”. Of course they were in short supply and there was always a period in Spring when we would sit on the steps at school and compare and “Swap”. Angels were the prize possessions, and we kept them sorted into different categories in flat cardboard boxes – perhaps pre-war chocolate boxes! This was Tang Hall Avenue Primary School in York. The Opies’ study of children’s playground games includes some that we used to play.
    Thank you for reviving this memory for me!

  11. Jeanette Hollick permalink
    March 20, 2020

    Such rare and beautiful images. Thanks for posting.

  12. March 20, 2020

    Fascinating but odd, as they they were lithographed that the one labeled ‘Colour printer’ was what I’d call a lithographer [with a very small stone], while the one labeled ‘Lithographer’ I’d call a lithographic artist

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