19th century knitters, From the Archives

From the archives: knitting stockings as they walk along…

Adolphe Braun (French, 1812 - 1877)
Canton de Zurich by Adolphe Braun (French, 1812 – 1877) , about 1869, Albumen silver print. 14.6 × 9.8 cm (5 3/4 × 3 7/8 in.) The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. See here


waiting for customers, they are found knitting…

A short extract today for the ‘always knitting’ series, which features 19th century commentary about European women’s apparently ubiquitous and incessant knitting. (See here for part one of series).

I particularly love the photo above which I thought perfectly illustrated the extract. It was taken in about 1869 in Zurich and is a staged, studio shot of a woman surrounded by baskets of produce that she appears to be selling. The fact that the photographer chose to include a piece of knitting in her hand to re-enact this market scene, suggests how common it was for women sellers to be knitting while they worked.



…Cider, potatoes, butter, fruit, corn, and even flowers, are brought into the market on Saturdays for sale; and the women come in by companies, and are to be seen perfect pictures of health and cheerfulness, knitting stockings as they walk along, and even when they sit with their butter-baskets and bunches of flowers in the market-place, waiting for customers, they are found knitting.

Coventry Herald- Friday 10 November 1826. From the fantastic British Newspaper Archive (here).

Over to you: did you find this account interesting/surprising? I’d love to hear of any similar accounts of knitters in the 19th century that you’ve come across.


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