This book is a meticulously researched but very readable story of Huguenot Paul Fourdrinier’s journey from being an apprentice in Holland to a highly recognized printmaker in London in the eighteenth century.
Paul is almost forgotten and artistically underrated but was an accomplished copper engraver who founded the English Fourdrinier dynasty, which produced the developers of the Fourdrinier papermaking machine and the mother of Cardinal Newman.
The reader will be immersed in his world and his connections to aristocrats, artists, and great projects of the age—including the development of Palladian neoclassical architecture, the Foundling’s Hospital, and the Savannah colony in Georgia—and renowned talents such as the sculptor Rysbrack, painter Hogarth, designer William Kent, and composer George Frederick Handel. As well as the great and powerful, we meet the eccentrics—George Vertue, Horace Walpole, the reverend Stephen Duck, Batty Langley, courtesan Teresia Constantia Phillips, and the curious affair of Mary Toft, who convinced half the nation that she had given birth to rabbits.
This was a time of exciting intellectual development. The combination of copper engraving and printing combined with the removal of state censorship and the institution of copyright led to a wave of information and learning not dissimilar to the impact of the Internet. The institution of commercial companies and banks foreshadowed the Industrial Revolution and made possible projects such as Charles Labeyle’s first Westminster Bridge, the building of Regency Bath, and James Gibb’s Radcliffe Camera in Oxford, all engraved by Fourdrinier on behalf of their creators.
In his shop in Whitehall, he developed master engravings of uncommon size and shapes for customers, including the Earls of Burlington and Pembroke, and engraved for Thomas Wright, the astronomer who first defined galaxies, and William Chambers, who propelled Chinese fashion into Georgian design.
This is a fascinating book from beginning to end.
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The Forgotten Fourdrinier
The Life, Times and Work of Paul Fourdrinier, Huguenot Master Printmaker in London (1720â"1758)
By Peter Simpson
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2017 Peter Simpson
All rights reserved.
In the 18th Century Europe was in religious and social turmoil following the earlier Reformation, the profound and bloody religious schism surrounding the rise of the Protestant Church. The conflicts which followed were proportionately as devastating as the two World Wars in terms of loss of life and property, hardship and deprivation. Yet from the ashes of pre-Reformation and essentially medieval Europe arose entrepreneurialism, industrialization and the notion that all people might know God themselves and that the Church was a resource rather than an overseer. It also promoted the social mobility and geographical mobility that Paul's life illustrates.
The most common dating of the beginning of the Reformation is 1517 when Luther published The Ninety-Five Theses, and concludes in 1648 with the Treaty of Westphalia that ended years of European religious wars. Paul Fourdrinier was not born until 1698 and almost all histories that mention him put his birthdate and place as Groningen, Holland, December 20th 1698 but the Netherlands Register of Births and Baptisms, 1564-1910 gives Amsterdam 31 December 1698 and his baptism date at 4th January 1699. He was already from a refugee family, but the great diaspora was still in progress.
The development of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg around 1440, the translation of the Bible into German by Martin Luther seventy years later, and a strong desire to place the tools of Christian belief into the hands of the people combined with the rise of a merchant and manufacturing class was powered by new reproductive technology, as disruptively powerful as the Internet, to create a movement of dissent.
The known world was torn apart by a movement which sought to connect the population with their religion through a vernacular version of the Bible and to reduce and minimize the role of the interlocution of the Catholic Church. The levels of conflict and hatred unleashed by this movement were driven by both sincere belief and by the establishment need to protect the riches and privileges and position of the established churches and their supporters.
From its earliest days the Christian religion had placed importance on maintaining orthodox belief. With the emergence of the Episcopal Church there came a system of church government based upon Bishops. From this time on, orthodoxy versus heresy and canonical correctness versus satanic error were central features of Christianity (and, by imitation, Islam), until the later part of the 20th Century when liberalism and ecumenical tolerance overtook the church and, in doing do, vented much of its passion.
The legalization of Christianity in the Roman Empire in 311 CE and the subsequent support of the religion by Constantine the Great (ultimately leading to the adoption of Trinitarian Christianity as the state religion of the Western Empire under Theodosius in AD380) was the key event in establishment of the church as a surviving and, ultimately, militant, religion.
In the first millennium CE there were many disputes and schisms. From the earliest days the Eastern Orthodox Church, centered on Byzantium, was a rival to the Catholic Church based on Rome, and as the Roman Empire split into two, so the churches separated. Miaphysitism, which led to the separation of the Armenian, Egyptian and Syrian churches, formed what is now known as the Eastern Orthodoxy. The Photian Schism of the 9th Century led to final split between the Eastern Orthodox (Byzantine) Church and the Church of Rome. Nestorianism was a movement which shaped the Church of the East, stretching from the Mediterranean to India and China. At the same time the border countries of Western Europe, including Scandinavia and parts of the Balkans, were won over to the church through intensive missionary activity.
Following the so called "Dark Ages" (5th to 10th Centuries), a period more notable for its lack of complete historical record than its true intellectual or artistic darkness, the church emerged as an increasingly rich, powerful, cathedral building, heresy hunting institution.
The Middle Ages – from the 11th to 15 Centuries - link the Dark Ages to the Renaissance and the re-flowering of art and culture in Italy and beyond. They also take us to ultimate schism in the Church, the breakaway of the Protestant religion and the wars and upheavals that attended that event.
The Catholic Church had two main enemies in this period – heretics within Western Europe and Islam pressing on its borders. The return of a fairly complete historical record leading to continuity of history to the present day coincided roughly with the Norman Conquest on England in 1066 the rise of monasticism and the domination of the Iberian Peninsula by the Abbasid Moors.
The Crusades and boundary wars with Islam are well known features of this era. Militant Islam reached the Pyrenees in the south and the walls of Vienna in the east. Their ships Dared the white republics up the capes and Italy/And dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea (Venice). All of Christendom trembled with fear at the Islamic menace. It was, some said, the end of days.
Internally there were disputes between the Church and the lay powers. The Investiture Dispute in the 11 Century, a dispute between the Pope and European monarchs over the right to select bishops and church officials, was the most significant and ended with the triumph of church authority over the lay power of the Holy Roman Empire. Challenges of creed included Catherism (centered on Languedoc in France), the Waldensians of North West Italy and Southern France and led ultimately to the Albigenisian Crusade (1209-1229) in an effort by the Church to eliminate Catherism.
These disputes were mainly about interpretation of the scripture and the defense of orthodoxy. The Protestant movement was more fundamental. The Protestant founding fathers regarded the Catholic Church as corruption and the Pope as the literal anti-Christ.
The Black Death which had swept through Europe in the 14 Century and taken 30-60% of the population, had led a re-tooling of the economy from a serfdom service model to a cash labor market and facilitated the rise of the non-noble merchant and industrialist. The printing press, developed in Europe in the 15 Century (much earlier in India and China) had led to the ability to promulgate new ideas much more broadly and quickly than ever before. By the 15 Century the Western world was changing very quickly indeed.
Early change agents included Jon Hus of Prague, who was burned at the stake by order of the Pope, and John Wycliffe of England who died of a stroke, but was exhumed and burned as a heretic twelve years later. Both, in their own way, challenged the legitimacy of the Catholic Church as the manifestation of God on Earth and the determinant of orthodox Christianity.
The Protestant movement proper began in the 16 Century as an attempt to radically reform the Roman Catholic Church. Martin Luther wrote and published his Ninety-Five Theses and in England Henry VIII dissolved the Monasteries, taking over their wealth and power, and separated the Church of England from the Church of Rome by 1536. The Scottish Reformed Church was distinct by 1560 and in Switzerland Ulrich Zwingli led a fundamental reforming movement. In the Netherlands the Reformed Dutch Church was established by 1570 paving the way for French Protestants to flee there in the next century. Years of conflict, debate and suppression reached boiling point. Local wars broke out such as the German Peasant's War of 1524-25, which saw the slaughter of many Catholics. Religious civil wars have the capacity to become ingrained and vicious in the extreme, and this is what happened in many parts of Europe.
The Anglo-Saxon countries took to Protestantism fairly naturally and Spain, freed from the Moors, took on the role of the sword of the Catholic Church. France came apart.
As a strongly Catholic and profoundly conservative country, for France the Protestant Reformation was bound to cause a base struggle. The Affaire des Placards (the Placard Affair) was an early example when, on an October night in 1534, placards against the Mass appeared all over France, including on the door of King Francis I at Amboise, an astonishing testament to the influence of those behind the movement. The placards carried a direct attack on the sanctity of the Eucharist; this was powerful and provocative material design to stir up passions. One of the immediate effects was to drive King Francis, a humanist and not a great patron of the church, to defend the church and through it the stability of his reign; lines were being drawn in the sand. Retribution followed; John Calvin, a native of France, was one of those who fled to the security of Zwingli's Protestant movement in Switzerland.
Calvin, (1509 – 1564) was an influential French theologian and pastor and was a leader in the development of the theme of Christian belief that we call Calvinism, which include the doctrine of predestination and the absolute sovereignty of God in salvation of the human soul from death and eternal damnation. In these areas Calvin was influenced by the old philosophies of St. Augustine and others. Various Congregational, Reformed and Presbyterian churches, which look to Calvin as the chief expositor of their beliefs, have spread throughout the world. Most Huguenots were Calvinists and Calvin alone was mostly responsible for the development of a strong Protestant community in an otherwise committed Catholic country.
A violent civil war ensued in France, known to history as the Wars of Religion, culminating in the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre (August 1572) in which somewhere between 30,000 and 100,000 Protestants were murdered across the country. Deprived of their more moderate political leadership, the Huguenots radicalized in response.
In the end the Reformation was a conflict between those who believed that a person's relationship to God was routed through, and governed by, a hierarchical church order, and those who believed that this relationship was individual and who preferred to worship in churches which were communal and not authoritarian. The Church of England remained hierarchical and liturgical; various other churches practiced with less pomp and circumstance, and a multitude of sects chose communal or very idealistic forms of social organization. The most puritan, unable to get around the controlling nature of the Church of England, migrated to The Netherlands and ultimately to the American Colonies while evangelicalism spread in Wales and Ireland.
The origins of the appellation Huguenot are not clear and are in dispute. What is clear is that they were persecuted for their beliefs and left France in droves. Between 1685 and 1700, up to 200,000 people, 20% of the French Huguenot population, had fled or were deported beyond its borders seeking refuge (and in doing so brought the word "refugee" into use in the English language). Many more were killed, imprisoned or financially ruined in France itself. Often these were craftsmen, artists, professionals, experts, innovators and entrepreneurs. As dissenters they were by definition open to new ideas, to intellectual challenge and debate. Their death and emigration deprived France of its economically and technologically progressive class and left France frozen in Catholic Conservatism until the French Revolution one hundred years later. Arguably their diaspora removed a major reforming influence in French religion and society which might have enabled a gradual reform of government towards a constitutional monarchy similar to the British model and avoided the bloodshed and chaos of the French Revolution and the French wars.CHAPTER 2
The Fourdrinier Family in the Netherlands
Paul Fourdrinier's family is said by most histories to have come from Caen in Normandy and moved to Groningen in The Netherlands in some unknown year. However, none of these histories, mostly written in the 19th Century, lead us back to documentary evidence of this. There certainly were Fourdriniers living in the Caen area in the 16th and 17th centuries and the name seemed to have been concentrated in Northern France. The original meaning of the name was sloe bush, or wild plum, and it is roughly equivalent to the English names Hawthorne or Thorne and Thorney.
This is the family tree of the Fourdriniers' as found in most late 18th Century and 19th Century books and often carried over to modern histories.
(said to have been
an Admiral of
France and to have
born at Caen in
born at Caen
1658; left France
and settled in
of Caen, and
born circa 1662;
England 8 March,
1682; died 26
Dec. 1715; buried
Cemetery, Co. Surrey.
= Marie du Fay,
buried as 'Mary
(aged) 69,' 8
Feb. 1729, at
born at Gronigen
aforesaid 20 Dec.
1698; buried at
Cemetery 10 Feb.
1758. Admin. to his
son Henry, 18 Feb.
= Susanna, born 11
July, 1693; married
5 Oct. 1721; died
15 and buried at
Wandsworth 22 Nov.
However, the Netherlands Birth and Deaths Record (1564-1910) has only two records for the birth and baptism of a Paul Fourdrinier, the relevant one showing him born to Jacques Fourdrinier and Jeanne Theroude in Amsterdam on New Year's Eve 1698 and christened on January 4 1699. As there is no record in the Netherlands register for either Jacques or Jeanne we can assume that they were first generation immigrants from France.
A Jeanne Theroude and a Marie Theroude are on the list of confessors, those who persisted in professing their Protestantism after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, who were imprisoned in the area of Rouen, transferred to Dieppe Castle and shipped to England in March and April 1688. This Jeanne was probably Paul's mother who somehow moved from England as a destitute refugee to The Netherlands. A Pierre Fourdrinier was also on this list and Suzanne Dufay, aged 30 at the time, was arrested in St. Omer, sent to Rouen and finally to Dieppe in March 1686 and hence to England. This was the same year that Louis Grolleau married Marie Dufay in London. It seems the Grolleau / DuFay / Fourdrinier connection stretches back to NW France.
The sponsors of Paul and his wife Susanna's first child (also Paul) at his christening in London in 1724 were listed as Jacques Hubert and Judith Theroude which demonstrates the link between the Theroudes and the Grolleau / Fourdiniers.
Jacques and Jeanne had other children – Benjamin born 1701 and Madeleine born 1694 and also twins Isaac and Etienne born in 1704. They were christened in the Waals Hervormde Kerk (Calvinist Reformed Church) in Amsterdam.
As best we can tell Paul Fourdrinier, his mother and father and brother Benjamin migrated to England at about the same time. James (Jacques) Fourdrinier was buried in Wandsworth May 6, 1727. Benjamin Fourdrinier married Jane Gaudin at St Botolph's Church in Bishopsgate London in 1730 and was buried at St. Martin's in the Fields in 1733. Benjamin Fourdrinier and Judith Grolleau sponsored Paul and his wife Susanna's daughter at baptism in 1727, so Benjamin presumably married Susanna's sister. Madame Sara Dufay sponsored daughter Mary in 1728, who quite probably was named for Susanna's mother Mary Dufay, Paul's Mother in Law.
As one of Paul's sons and a grandson were both Henri's and became anglicized and well-to-do perhaps the assumed history of the Fourdriniers was a family fabrication, but just as likely it was 19 Century speculation.CHAPTER 3
1714-1720 Paul Fourdrinier and Bernard Picart (1673-1733)
It is believed that Paul studied as an apprentice with the engraver Bernard Picart (1673-1733) in Amsterdam for 6 years. Picart was one of the greatest engravers of his age and well known for the style of first etching his copper plates using a wax coating, removing the areas he wanted to etch and then flooding the plate with acid to etch the uncovered areas and finishing the plate with a burin (engraving tool).
Many of his original designs were reproduced in London for various booksellers by the engraver John Carwitham (born 1697, active c1723-1742) using his original techniques. John is typical of many craftsmen of his age, basically unknown as a person; the brother of Thomas, a better known decorator and architect. John is best known for early, and important, engravings of New York City, Philadelphia and Boston.
Picart himself, the son of Etienne Picart, a successful and well off artist and engraver, was born in Paris and studied at the Academie Royale from age 16. To do this he must have at least appeared to be a professing Catholic. He spent a year in Antwerp in The Netherlands in 1696 when he was 23 years old, then moved to Amsterdam, returning to Paris in 1698 and marrying in 1702. His wife, Claudine Prost, came from a family of impeccable Catholic faith and they had several children, all of whom died in infancy followed by Claudine herself in 1708.
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Table of Contents
The Huguenots, 1,
The Fourdrinier Family in the Netherlands, 5,
1714-1720 Paul Fourdrinier and Bernard Picart (1673-1733), 8,
Paul Fourdrinier - Becoming an Engraver, 13,
London at the Time of Paul Fourdrinier, 15,
The Huguenots in London, 22,
Publishing in the 18th Century, 24,
1720 - 1731 Paul Fourdrinier becomes established in London, 28,
Paul's First Work - Virgil for Jacob Tonson, 39,
Paul and the Fascination of Morocco, 47,
The Curious Affair of the Rabbit Woman, 50,
Richard Fiddes' Life of Wolsey, 56,
Milton's Paradise Lost 1727, 57,
Palladio and the Neoclassical Movement, 60,
Paul Acquires Patrons and is Involved in the "Palladian War", 63,
Alexander Pope's Works of Shakespear, 69,
John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham and Pope Associate, 70,
Paul and a Pirate - George Shelvocke, 71,
Sir Roger L'Estrange's Seneca's Morals by Way of Abstract, 74,
Fourdrinier, Robert Walpole and Architectural Taste, 76,
Retrospective on the 1720's, 80,
The Art of Engraving and Printing, 83,
1731 - 1740 Paul Sets Up his Shop, 89,
An Early Business Venture and Setback, 100,
Debtor's Prison - The Sand Trap of 18th Century England, 101,
Paul Fourdrinier and Savannah, Georgia, 105,
William Kent, John Gay, John Michel Rysbrack and the Newton Monument, 112,
Paul Opens His Shop and Press, 118,
Fourdrinier, Isaac Ware, Benjamin Cole and the "Second Palladian War", 125,
The Jacob Tonson - Richard Walker Feud, 130,
Eboracum: The History of the City and Cathedral of York, 132,
John Durant Breval, 135,
A Vision for Westminster Abbey, 138,
St. Giles-in-the-Fields Church - a Georgian Gem, 139,
Paul Fourdrinier and the War of Jenkin's Ear, 141,
Paul Fourdrinier, Charles Labelye and the Building of the First Westminster Bridge, 143,
The 1730's Retrospective, 150,
Paul Fourdrinier's Prime Decade (1741-1750), 152,
A Spanish Classic, 158,
Paul Fourdrinier, Church Elder and Lawsuit, 159,
Paul Fourdrinier, Maps and the 9 th Earl of Pembroke, 163,
An Exciting Neighbor, 168,
A Professional Neighbor - John Millan - Antiquarian and Publisher, 170,
Gardens, Fireworks and Music, 171,
Louthiana 1748, 178,
Paul Fourdrinier and St Paul's Cathedral, 187,
Wren's Final Design for St. Paul's, 191,
The Foundling Hospital, 194,
The Battle of Dettingen, 1743, 197,
George Vertue and Horace Walpole - Looking down from On High, 199,
The Death of Susanna 1746, 201,
The Haslar Hospital Masterpiece, 202,
A Naval Expositer 1750, 204,
1740's Retrospective, 206,
1751-1757 The Last Years, 207,
Paul Fourdrinier, John Strype and Stowe's Survey of London, 211,
Regent Walk and New Senate House and Library, Cambridge University 1752, 213,
The City of Bath - A Neoclassical Gem, 214,
Last Apprentice, 217,
The Devonport Dockyard 1756, 218,
Chesterfield House 1756, 219,
Isaac Ware's Architectural Compendium 1756, 220,
William Chambers and in Introduction of Chinese Style 1757, 223,
Brentford Turnpike and a Link to Westminster Bridge 1757, 227,
The Ruins of Balbec 1757, 228,
Stuart and Revett's The Antiquities of Athens, 231,
Fourdrinier Works of Uncertain Date, 232,
The End, 233,
The Accomplishments of Paul Fourdrinier, 235,
Afterword - The First Bank Note Forgery, 243,
About the Author, 245,